Nutrient Recycling: Waste Hierarchy, Recycling Cities and Eco-houses

  • Jan-Olof Drangert
Part of the Sustainable Agriculture Reviews book series (SARV, volume 32)


Food security presupposes access to sunshine, nutrients and water. With an increase in population to 10–11 billion in this century, the Malth usian issue of resources boundaries is still on the global agenda. Urban flows of nutrient-rich waste from the food chain and excreta need to be redesigned. This chapter elaborates on measures to ensure a sustainable supply of plant nutrients for future food production.

An extended waste hierarchy is employed here to structure the analysis of nutrient waste recovery. Reduction, reuse and recycling measures show that recovered P from the waste flows in Europe can substitute 50–70% of mined phosphorus in fertilizers. The rate of losses between the mine and plate control the degree of substitution. A practical city-level example of improved design of nutrient flows indicates increases in recovery of both P and N of 90% and 80% respectively. Examples of eco-houses built to recover and reuse/recycle nutrient-rich liquid and solid waste displays required piping.


Nutrient recovery Food loss Planetary resources boundaries Waste hierarchy Reuse Recycling Urban infrastructure Food security Urban agriculture 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan-Olof Drangert
    • 1
  1. 1.Linköping UniversityLinköpingSweden

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