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Recommendations for nutrient recycling after 2020

7 October, 2020 - 15:30

The workshop “Unlocking the nutrient recycling potential in the Baltic Sea Region” was organized on 30 September 2020 by the platforms BSR WATER (UBC Sustainable Cities Commission) and SuMaNu (Baltic Sea Action Group), to tackle this challenge across the agricultural and municipal wastewater sectors.

The unsustainable use of manure and fertilizers in agriculture, the accumulation of nutrients in intensive livestock production areas and the lack of sustainable solutions to recycle nutrients from wastewaters are critical issues to solve in order to scale up circular economy, mitigate climate change and reduce eutrophication in the Baltic Sea Region. The workshop brought up the results and findings accumulated in the two platform projects, as well as in the BONUS RETURN project, aiming to find solutions and produce recommendations for the region to overcome the barriers and allow recovery, reuse and recycling of nutrients from urban and agricultural sources.

The workshop was opened with the presentations of the platforms organizing this discussion: Taavo Tenno (University of Tartu) introduced BSR WATER and the nutrient recycling potential in wastewater sector, and Minna Sarvi (Luke) presented SuManu platform and, respectively, the agricultural sector's approach to the nutrient recycling. The keynote was given by Arno Rosemarin (Stockholm Environment Institute), who summarized key opportunities and challenges in nutrient recycling across both sectors.

The workshop hosted ca. 60 participants representing a rich variety of stakeholder groups including research, local and regional authorities, interest organisations, NGOs and business, all of which were actively involved in the group discussions that followed the first scene setting presentations. The groups were divided into three cross-linked topics: boosting the market for recycled fertilizer products; cooperating towards sustainable phosphorus strategy in the region; reducing pollutants in sewage sludge and ensuring the safety of recovered nutrients.

After the discussions and presented feedback from the groups, the workshop was closed with the concluding remarks from Dmitry Frank-Kamenetsky (HELCOM) and Anna Hernberg (EUSBSR Policy Area Nutri).

Throughout the discussions, the workshop participants agreed that the nutrient recycling needs a stronger push from the regulation point of view, but also requires more attractive support mechanisms and incentives, including financial support. In addition, better communication across the wastewater and agriculture sectors is needed to promote the application of organic and recycled fertilizers among the end-users and to inform consumers about the circular use of nutrients for them to make a sustainable choice. It's important to support the communities as important stakeholders in the nutrient recycling loop process. These and other points will be added to the currently prepared recommendations, which would be presented as an input to the update of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region post-2020.

Results from all EUSBSR workshops will be presented on the main day of the Annual Forum on 20 October 2020 – register and join us there!

Presentations from the workshop


Nutrient recycling potential in wastewater sector and BSR WATER platform
Taavo Tenno, University of Tartu

Nutrient recycling in agricultural sector – why, what, how?
Minna Sarvi, Luke

Key opportunities and challenges in nutrient recycling
Arno Rosemarin, Stockholm Environment Institute

EUSBSR PA Nutri: objectives and new actions
Anna Hernberg, EUSBSR Policy Area Nutri Coordinator, Finnish Ministry of the Environment

Video with all Workshops' results presented at the Forum (Youtube)