You Can Make $13,000 A Year From Waste

OpenBiome screenshot
  • Article by Roland Bleyer
  • February 11, 2015 at 4:59 AM

As more and more people search for ways to make a bit of extra cash, there are people in the US who are literally sitting on a goldmine of potential cash flow.

While one of the most common ways to earn more money is to “sell sh**” – either online or at garage sales and markets – a company in the US is giving people a chance to sell their actual sh** for “up to $250 per week”.

The Massachusetts based organisation OpenBiome is in the business of offering faecal transplants to people who suffer some serious uh, shall we say, “digestive issues”. In particular the non-profit organisation is focused on helping people who suffer from infections of a bacteria known as Clostridium difficile (or C. difficile), which it says affects 500,000 Americans every year, “20% of whom will face multiple relapses”.

“For a person suffering from recurrent C. difficile infections, even leaving the house can become nightmarish,” OpenBiome says.

Symptoms of the intestinal bug include severe abdominal pain, loss of appetite, fever, blood or pus in stools and diarrhoea. In extreme cases, the infection can also be fatal, with official estimates of C. diff-associated death ranging from 14,000 to 30,000 annually.

While there are antibiotics that people can take to get rid of the bug, OpenBiome says it is not always an effective treatment, hence the 20% relapse rate. So in order to help people deal with the bug, they get healthy stool samples from people and use them to “reconstitutes the healthy gut community”.

“Where antibiotic treatment has failed to help…fecal microbiota transplantation has shown a cure rate of 90%,” the organisation says. 

“In this procedure, a fecal microbiota preparation using stool from a healthy donor is transplanted into the colon of the patient. OpenBiome helps facilitate this procedure by screening and processing fecal microbiota preparations for use in clinical settings.”

According to the Stool Donation page on the OpenBiome website, donors get paid US$40 (about AUD$51) per stool donation and a $50 a bonus for being a regular visitor.

But if that is not enough of an incentive, OpenBiome also offers free drinks and prizes for their donors, saying you can:

“Win competitions like biggest single donation of the month, or most donations in a month for bonuses and prizes!”


At this stage donors need to work or live near the lab in Medford, Massachusetts, and have to meet the following criteria:

  • The ability to make frequent donations for 60 days,
  • Be aged between 18-50,
  • Have a BMI of less than 30; and
  • Have had limited travel in the past 12 months.

Although it seems strange to get paid to poop, this is a way to turn waste into wealth. And for people in Medford, Massachusetts, it could be a lot more worthwhile than flushing thousands of potential dollars down the drain every year.

Image credits: OpenBiome via YouTube; Minute Earth screenshot via YouTube

Poop screenshot 2
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