Life on earth depends on nutrients. Phosphorus is an essential component of fertilizers and crucial for the world’s food supply system. Since there is no alternative for phosphorus, we urgently need to recover it from our ‘waste’ streams, recycle it and use it more sustainably. The Nutrient Platform unites water, agriculture, waste and chemistry together with the government, knowledge institutes and NGOs to achieve this goal. While the global demand for phosphorus and other nutrients increases, the reserves are decreasing. Furthermore the reserves are concentrated in only a handful of countries. The potential impact on worldwide food security is enormous. The Nutrient Platform is a cross-sectoral network of Dutch organizations that believe in a pragmatic approach towards nutrient scarcity. Frontrunners from the water sector, agriculture, waste sector and chemical industry have joined forces to close nutrient cycles.
Together with the government, knowledge institutes and NGOs we accelerate the transition towards sustainable nutrient management by creating a market for recycled nutrients.
Above all, the Nutrient Platform aims to turn the surplus of phosphorus in the Netherlands into an opportunity. This surplus, mainly the result of our intensive livestock system, causes environmental problems. By recovering phosphorus from our ‘waste’ streams and turning it into valuable new products, not only the environment is improved but also the phosphorus cycle is closed.
THE DUTCH APPROACH
36 Dutch parties representing businesses, knowledge institutes, NGOs and the government are member of the Nutrient Platform. Our joint ambition is to create a market for recycled nutrients in which:
- As many nutrients as possible are recovered from ‘waste’ streams (wastewater, sludge, manure, swill) and recycled into valuable new products (fertilizers, animal feed, chemicals)
- The recovered nutrients are exported to contribute to soil improvement and food security elsewhere, in case of a surplus on the Dutch market
We believe in realizing the circular economy with this approach.
In practice, the members of the Nutrient Platform are achieving these goals by:
- Developing innovative cross-sectoral business cases on nutrient recycling
- Improving Dutch and European legislation that helps turning ‘waste’ into resources
- Creating awareness about sustainable nutrient management
- Linking a joint knowledge agenda to business demand
Furthermore, the Nutrient Platform has initiated and realized the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP). ESPP brings together companies and other stakeholders to address the phosphorus challenge and its opportunities.