#621 Freshen your home with cow poo

Bali cattle

Bali cattle, descended from Indonesia’s native species, the banteng; photo by Mahbob Yusof via Wikimedia Commons

Seriously, they want me to spray cow poo around my house after I’ve cooked something particularly malodorous? According to a post on Treehugger, that is exactly what Dwi Nailul Izzah and Rintya Aprianti Miki have in mind.

The two bright young women trumped 1,000 other students vying for top spot in Indonesia’s Science Project Olympiad. Their invention rests on something ubiquitous and cheap: cow dung. Oddity Central describes their process:

To make the manure air freshener, Dwi Nailul Izzah and Rintya Aprianti Miki collected the necessary material from a cattle farm in Lamongam, East Java, and let it ferment for three days. Then they extracted the water from the fermented manure and mixed it with coconut water. Finally, they distilled the liquid to eliminate all impurities. The whole process took 7 days, which is pretty long, but in the end they obtained what they were looking for – a liquid air freshener with an herbal aroma from digested cow food.

Go ahead and laugh, but think of the potential for safeguarding the health of people and the environment. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, air fresheners contain four basic ingredients: formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, p- dichlorobenzene, and aerosol propellants. The Environmental Working Group says air fresheners contain an average of 18 chemicals, including phthalates, and that one in five of the chemicals are considered hazardous substances.

Bring on the cow manure. Maybe the cows’ diets would affect the fragrance. Lavender or mint anyone?

Oddity Central says the two students are entering their project in the International Environmental Project Olympiad and are preparing to file for patent rights.

These clever young scholars are at the beginning of their career years. We can expect more innovations from them in the future. They give me hope.

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