Human waste recovery to utilize as fertilizer

This solution was shared by PRE-LAUNCH RESEARCH TEAM , 14 May 2021

Print date: 12 September 2022 06:22

Description of the innovative solution

Circular economy Closing nutrient loop Collaboration Community building Urban farming Waste Water availability Agricultural development Agricultural extension Food biodiversity Desert agriculture

The normal range of urine output is 800 to 2,000 milliliters per day. This urine is rich in nitrogen and contains phosphorus, but these resources are currently still flushed without being utilized. Phosphorus is a vital resource for world's food production, however it is currently not a renewable resource, the limited reserve of earth's phosphate are currently being depleted at an alarming rate. This innovation proposes to apply specific processing to urine, such as fermentation, freezing or dilution, in order to use it as a potent, cheap and safe fertilizer. Urine could be recovered at a big scale to solve the phosphorus crisis and reduce the environmental impacts of nitrogen fertiliser production.

Supply chain segment


Maturity level

Moving to scale


Food affordability Climate mitigation Water use Soil health Reducing biodiversity loss Reducing pollution

SDG target

SDG 1: No Poverty SDG 2: Zero Hunger SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth SDG 10: Reduced Inequality SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production SDG 13: Climate Action


Urban Peri-urban Rural

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Additional resources

Learn more about this solution through studies, articles, business cases, and other information

Literature review on ecological sanitation
Scientific paper
Study that reviews the feasibility of ecological sanitation and notes important shortcomings where additional research is still needed
Guidelines for the Application of Sewage Sludge to Agricultural Land
Leaflet explaining guidelines for British farms when using sewage sludge on agricultural lands, including classifications of different types of sludge.


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