Without access to raw phosphorus, Europe will be unable to feed its population. Unless we start to recycle more phosphorus and using it less. It is vital that we do not wait and we start taking action today. This is how we can close the phosphorus value chain:
Use less: food for people and animals contains more phosphorus than necessary. The surplus of phosphorus disappears through human excreta, manure and solid waste. We should reduce this surplus by minimizing the input. We can also further reduce the amount of phosphorus in cleaning chemicals.
Recycle more: The surplus of phosphorus ending up in human excreta, manure and solid waste is currently wasted. We should aim for maximum recovery and re-use of phosphorus from those waste streams.
Smart cooperation: Using less and recycling more will only be feasible when smart cooperation occurs between all sectors throughout the phosphorus value chain, between parts of the ‘triple helix’ (businesses, knowledge institutes, governmental organizations and NGOs) and between European member states.