Phosphorus Recycling and Phosphorus Recovery Technologies
Phosphorus is a non-renewable resource for which there is no substitute. The natural resources of phosphorous are said to be limited and being depleted as it is only mined at just a handful of locations worldwide.
Hence, there are a number of companies focused on developing technologies to extract phosphorus. Sweden and Germany are leading the way on promoting phosphorus recycling. Sweden for example has mandated that 60% of phosphorus must be recovered at its wastewater treatment plants by 2015 and the UK is also promoting phosphorus recycling. Every municipal wastewater treatment plant is potentially a ‘phosphorus mine’. Agricultural and industrial waste streams are also potential ‘mines’.
The mining may also start in your own home with a new environmentally friendly toilet that could substantially reduce pollution problems and conserve water and energy. It's called the NoMix toilet and it separates urine and solids. The basic idea is simple: urine accounts for only 1% of the total volume of wastewater, but it contains up to 80% of all the nutrients. If it is processed separately, wastewater treatment plants can be reduced in size, water protection can be improved, and nutrients can be recycled.
The Europeans are certainly leading the way in this area, in Switzerland trials with NoMix toilets have been quite successful. Apparently the majority of the Swiss people interviewed said they had no problem with it. This was even true for men, where one version of the device requires men to sit down to urinate. The goal is to make wastewater treatment more environmentally friendly by essentially recycling urine.