Has it ever crossed your mind to analyse your poo to look for gold? No? Well maybe you should start! (Be warned, though, that you may well need a strong magnifying glass)
According to some researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), we are flushing millions down the toilet daily and they are looking for ways to squeeze metals like gold and silver out of solid waste or in other words poo… yes you read that right.
Apparently when poo arrives at a waste-water treatment plant, it is separated into bio-solids and treated water. About half of the bio-solids (3.5 million tons in the United States alone) is sent to landfills or incinerated, while the other half is used as fertilizer.
It's not just gold that could be mined and sold. Waste also contains elements like vanadium and copper, these can be used in devices such as mobile phones and computers.
It is still unclear what the economic value of poo mining actually is, but some recent projections have been promising. Earlier this year, another group of researchers estimated that the metals extracted from waste in a population of 1 million people could yield $13 million per year.
In the meantime, should you be tempted to start your own digging, we strongly suggest you wear gloves.
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