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Extending the European Union Waste Hierarchy to Guide Nutrient-Effective Urban Sanitation toward Global Food Security: Opportunities for Phosphorus Recovery
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Tema Environmental Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (Dep of Thematic Studies - Water and Environmental Studies)
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. (IFM Biology)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0722-6083
Department of Energy and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.
2018 (English)In: Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, E-ISSN 2571-581X, Vol. 2, p. 1-13, article id 3Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

With growing urbanization cities become hotspots for nutrients. Food items are imported, and food residues, including excreta and not-eaten food, are often exported to landfill sites and water bodies. However, urban sanitation systems can be designed to achieve a high degree of nutrient recovery and food security while counteracting current nutrient resources depletion, environmental degradation, and wasteful energy use. This article illustrates how an extended solid waste hierarchy also including human excreta and wastewater can guide actions to save and recover phosphorus (P) by the three sectors: food industry, households, and waste utilities. P use in diets and agricultural production is not part of the analysis, despite the potential to save P. Novel systems thinking and material flow analysis show that waste prevention can replace over 40% of mined P presently used for making fertilizers. Reuse and recycling of P in excreta and food waste can replace another 15–30%, depending on P efficiency from mine to plate. Keeping excreta separated from other wastewater facilitates such measure. Incineration and land filling are deemed the least appropriate measures since mainly P is recovered in the ashes. The European Union (EU) waste management policy is analyzed for real barriers and opportunities for this approach. The EU Parliament policy guidelines were watered down in the EU Commission’s Directives, and today most biowastes are still being landfilled or incinerated instead of recovered. An anticipated overcapacity of incineration plants in Europe threatens to attract all combustible materials and therefore, irrevocably, reduce nutrient recovery. On the other hand, reduced generation and enhanced recovery can delay exhaustion of P resources by several centuries and simultaneously reduce environmental degradation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Media S.A., 2018. Vol. 2, p. 1-13, article id 3
Keywords [en]
biowaste, European Union waste hierarchy, food security, human excreta, nutrient reuse/recycling, phosphorus, urban sanitation
National Category
Natural Sciences Social Sciences Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-145650DOI: 10.3389/fsufs.2018.00003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-145650DiVA, id: diva2:1189840
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, SanWatPUA networkAvailable from: 2018-03-12 Created: 2018-03-12 Last updated: 2018-04-13Bibliographically approved

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Drangert, Jan-OlofTonderski, Karin

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