Nutrient Recycling

The nutrients contained in human waste  are contaminating Cape Cod’s groundwater, rivers, freshwater and coastal ponds with life-suffocating algae. If the pollution is left unchecked, fish kills such as this one in Falmouth’s Little Pond will become an increasingly common sight.

COURTESY FALMOUTH ENTERPRISE - Sixteen dead striped bass were among dead fish found on the shore of Little Pond in Falmouth Heights in July 2012.

COURTESY FALMOUTH ENTERPRISE –
Sixteen dead striped bass were among dead fish found on the shore of Little Pond in Falmouth Heights in July 2012.

What can we do about it?

The nutrients in human waste have value as fertilizer. Almost all of the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that our bodies don’t use from food are excreted in urine and feces. These are valuable nutrients that can replace chemical fertilizers and are needed to grow our food sustainably for all generations to come.

Instead of wasting nutrients, eco-toilets produce fertilizer products and offer an affordable long-term solution for managing human waste. Not only do they recycle nutrients, eco-toilets conserve water and energy. The result is a more resilient community that can readily adapt to future population and climate changes.

These benefits can be achieved at a much lower financial and environmental cost than denitrifying septic systems or energy-intensive sewer systems.

By converting waste products into usable resources, eco-toilets bring a number of benefits to local communities:

  • 4 CCCWG  - nutrient recovery to agriculture cycle_6Conservation of fresh drinking water now used to flush toilets
  • Conservation of energy used in public  water and wastewater systems
  • Far less nutrient contamination of the groundwater, fresh water and coastal ponds
  • Job creation through installation, collection and recycling of compost and/or urine into safe, environmentally-friendly slow-release fertilizers
  • Reduced reliance on highly soluble petrochemical fertilizers that contaminate the water, air and soil

Read more about home-scale or community-scale nutrient recycling, or get started with our descriptions of types of eco-toilets!

 

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2 responses to “Nutrient Recycling

  1. Pingback: All we are saying: Give oysters a chance | Cape Cod Eco-Toilet Center·

  2. Pingback: A Letter from Ron | Sustainable Falmouth·

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