Circular nutrient solutions for agriculture and wastewater – a review of technologies and practices

Circular nutrient solutions for agriculture and wastewater – a review of technologies and practices

Authors: Arno Rosemarin (SEI), Biljana Macura (SEI), Johannes Carolus (UCPH), Karina Barquet (SEI) Filippa Ek (SEI), Linn Järnberg (SEI), Dag Lorick (SEI), Solveig Johannesdottir (RISE), Søren Marcus Pedersen (UCPH), Jari Koskiaho (SYKE), Neal R. Haddaway (SEI) & Tomasz Okruszko (WULS).

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This report provides an overview of the publication “Circular nutrient solutions for agriculture and wastewater – a review of technologies and practices” (Rosemarin et al., 2020).

The paper summarizes key findings from comprehensive efforts to collate current scientific evidence and expert opinions on circular solutions for recovery and reuse of nutrients and carbon from different waste streams in the agriculture and wastewater sectors, including assessment of policy, market and governance aspects, and related economics. Specifically, we identify established and emerging approaches for transformation towards a more circular nutrient economy with relevance to SDGs 6 and 14.

The paper cites the example of the Baltic Sea Region which has experienced decades of fertilizer overuse (1950s-1990s) and concomitant urban sources of excessive nutrients. Regulations and incentive policies combining the nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon cycles are necessary if circular nutrient technologies and practices are to be scaled up. Pricing chemical fertilizer at levels to reflect society’s call for circularity is a central challenge.

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