Biomass—including stover and unharvested crops, yard trimmings, and food waste—contains phosphorus and other nutrients. Many companies take steps to collect biomass, recycle its nutrients back into local food systems, and generate cost savings on agronomic inputs while extending our limited phosphate reserves. Their operations may include composting, (co)digestion, and phosphorus extraction processes, to name a few.
The Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance has set sector goals for the recovery and recycling of nutrients from biomaterials:
- Recover and reuse more nutrients from farm wastes, ideally while realizing the benefits of co-product recovery (biogas and other commodities).
- Divert more organic solid waste from landfills and into composting, digestion, and nutrient recovery programs.
We are working through our network of scientists to better integrate unit process models for nutrient recycling into watershed-scale hydrological models, such as SWAT, as part of our Phosphorus Field-to-Watershed modeling group. See some of the discussions from this modeling group here and here as well as talks on composting from our Phosphorus Forum. We’ve also worked to provide regulatory clarity around the land application of biosolids and manure by producing a regulatory analysis embedded within our GIS-P tool.
The membership of the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance invites organizations in the Biomaterials Recycling Sector to participate in our activities to further the sector goals.