How You Can Make Money off Your Poop

December 11th 2015

Laura Donovan

If you're a healthy pooper and need an easy side hustle, consider approaching nonprofit organization OpenBiome, a fecal bank that pays for poop samples. Yes, they actually give you money for the stuff you excrete into your toilet bowl every day. Don't let it go to waste.

The company buys stool samples in order to produce life-saving fecal transplant treatments for people with Clostridium difficile (C. difficile), a bacteria that can be resistant to antibiotics and cause diarrhea, colitis, and severe intestinal issues. Because fecal transplants are used to treat C. difficile, OpenBiome collects, screens, and freezes stool samples for these procedures.

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"Fecal transplantation is being tried as a treatment for C. difficile infection because, conceptually, it makes sense," Dr. Lawrence J. Brandt wrote in the journal, Gastroenterology & Hepatology in 2012. "By reintroducing a healthy diversity of bacteria, fecal transplantation can re-establish colonization resistance to prevent C. difficile from gaining a foothold and becoming a dominant organism in the environment of the gut."

OpenBiome accepts poop from people who can provide multiple samples each week. In order to be chosen, however, candidates have to meet a series of high standards. They must live near the company's lab in Medford, Massachusetts and pass an online test about their bowel health and family history. Candidates then undergo stool and blood tests. Those who make the final cut must submit samples at least four times a week for roughly two months, at which time each donor goes through a re-evaluation process. So this wouldn't work for someone with constipation or many health issues, but if you have regular bowel movements and pass the organization's screening, you can potentially profit from your poop.

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"It's harder to become a donor than it is to get into MIT," co-founder Mark Smith joked to the Washington Post earlier this year, adding that roughly 4 percent of the 1,000 people who have reached out to contribute samples over the past two years have successfully become poop contributors.

Each poop sample is worth $40, and you can make $50 for submitting samples five times a week. As pointed out by IFL Science, this can come out to $13,000 if you consistently provide five stool samples per week.

"We get most of our donors to come in three or four times a week, which is pretty awesome," Smith told the Washington Post. "You're usually helping three or four patients out with each sample, and we keep track of that and let you know."

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As much as people enjoying earning extra cash from sitting on the toilet, they also love the fact that they're improving the lives of others, co-founder Carolyn Edelstein said.

"Everyone thinks it's great that they're making money doing such an easy thing," Edelstein said, "But they also love to hear us say, 'Look, your poop just helped this lady who's been sick for nine years go to her daughter's graduation.'"