Bear with us here as we address a topic that is important, though not what you necessarily want to read about after clicking on a ridiculously awesome Sloppy Dogs recipe. We’re talking about biosolids, a form of fertilizer that is made from heavily treated municipal waste. As in, it involves our toilets and we will end the details there.
But biosolids, also known as "sludge," has become a controversial topic as of late. According to NPR’s Salt Blog, sludge has had a small, but vocal, opposition — claiming that using sludge as a viable form of fertilizer puts the public as risk, exposing the masses to heavy metals and pharmaceuticals. Supporters, including environmentalists and the Environmental Protection Agency, disagree and praise the technology for “returning valuable nutrients like nitrogen back to the land and keeping the sludge out of landfills and waterways,” according to the post.
Last week, in a decision that may change the way biosolids are used in farming, Whole Foods effectively banned the use of sludge in all of their products by including it in an updated list of unacceptable ingredients for food.
A Whole Foods spokesman says the decision won’t affect their operation, as all of their farmers currently operated sludge-free facilities “to their knowledge.” But now it’s officially on the books. Or, in the can?
We realize that these matters can be uncomfortable to think about, but with our dwindling natural resources, putting “treated” waste back into the earth in the name of preservation doesn’t sound like the worst idea. Let us know in the comments what you think. Also, please no photos. Please.