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Sustainable Phosphorus Management in Sweden: A study of phosphorus recycling from wastewater sludge in several municipalities of the Östergötland County
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Tema Environmental Change.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The Swedish Environmental Agency (SEPA) proposed a national target to increase the rate of phosphorus recycling from wastewater sludge in 2013. Reusing phosphorus from wastewater sludge by spreading it on arable lands raises the risk of contamination and substance deposition in soils. In addition to quantifying the targeted rate of recycling, the proposal has also introduced new thresholds that limit the concentrations of undesired substances in wastewater sludge. This thesis assesses the potential challenges and opportunities in implementing the proposed measure in the Swedish municipality settings. Both qualitative and quantitative data have been gathered from three selected mid-sized Swedish municipalities in the Östergötland County and other data sources. The analytical framework of the thesis is based on the Systems Framework for Phosphorus Recovery and Reuse. Several discrepancies between the national goal to increase phosphorus recycling and local circumstances that affect local decision-making have been identified in this thesis. Reducing the flow of undesired substances into the wastewater stream raises goal conflict and is an enormous challenge which requires regulating the way chemicals are consumed in society. From the policy perspective, the national environmental objectives framework is ambiguous with regards to how local decisions should be directed in line with the national goals. The proposed measure should hierarchically be unequivocal and its implementation needs to be coordinated across all geographical scales. The thesis also highlights that there are significant local opportunities for addressing other sustainability goals through phosphorus recycling measures. Sweden’s commitment to creating a resource-efficient phosphorus cycle affirms that the key for a sustainable phosphorus management is the transformation of path-dependent social and technical systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 59 p.
Keyword [en]
phosphorus recycling, phosphorus scarcity, sustainable phosphorus management, environmental quality objectives, systems approach, wastewater sludge
National Category
Other Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-122365ISRN: LIU-TEMAV/MPSSD-A-15/006-SEOAI: diva2:865962
Subject / course
Master´s Programme in Science for Sustainable Development, 120 ects
2014-09-23, 09:30 (English)
Available from: 2015-10-30 Created: 2015-10-29 Last updated: 2015-10-30Bibliographically approved

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