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IFAT, every two years, is world’s leading trade fair for water, sewage, waste and raw materials management, with some 140 000 visitors (47% international from nearly 170 countries at the last IFAT, 2016). At IFAT 2018, several conferences target phosphorus removal and nutrient recovery.

A Run4Life workshop, 9h-13h on May 17th, with European Commission and German Federal Environment Ministry participation, will present regulatory and innovation aspects of sewage phosphorus recycling, experience of operators, decentralised nutrient recovery, and key nutrient R&D projects.

The IFAT / DPP / ESPP / Bavaria Environment Ministry workshop, 14h-16h 17th May will address interactions between nutrient recycling in sewage works and low levels of phosphorus removal, and impacts on costs and environmental burdens. This will include presentation of the UK CIP2 results testing seven systems to achieve very low phosphorus discharge consents in operation in sewage works. The POWERSTEP project final conference on 16-17 May will address “Wastewater treatment plants as resource recovery factories”.

Run4Life workshop (see menu “Run4Life @ IFAT”)
DPP / ESPP / Bavaria Ministry event
POWERSTEP conference

If you wish to speak, propose a poster or present a success story, please send by 7 March 2018 latest an informal and short email (according to the themes below) to

Registration is now open for the 3rd European Sustainable Phosphorus Conference (ESPC3)

ESPC is the only Europe-wide event addressing phosphorus sustainability, covering farming, food, industry, phosphorus resources and environmental impacts. After 2013 Brussels and 2015 Berlin, ESPC3 will bring together 300-400 various stakeholders concerned by phosphorus and nutrient management, including the fertilisers sector, waste and water management, phosphorus industry, environmental managers, the food industry, research and innovation and policy makers.
The conference is organized by the European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP) and the Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG) and supported by the Finnish Ministry of the Environment, the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, EasyMining and Kemira.
Confirmed lead speakers include:

  • Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment (video message)
  • Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of World Meteorological Organization
  • Jonathan Trent, Project Scientist, NASA
  • Jaana Husu-Kallio, Permanent Secretary of the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
  • Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki City
  • International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine
  • International Nitrogen Initiative
  • Newtrient (US dairy industry)
  • Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance (North America)
  • Netherlands Government
  • Fertilizers Europe
  • European Commission DG Environment
  • Companies and R&D including: SARIA, Nijhuis, WETSUS, Ostara, Italpollina, Kemira, EasyMining …

Presentations can be

  • Thematic presentations (10-15 minutes), see themes below
  • Company success stories (3-5 minutes) on phosphorus/nutrient management
  • Flash presentations (3-5 minutes) on nutrient emission abatement or on ecosystem restoration

Conference themes:

  •         Implementation of EU Commission Consultation on Sustainable Phosphorus 2013
  •         Policy and economic tools in sectors concerned by phosphorus sustainability
  •         Nutrient recycling in Finland
  •         Phosphorus, nitrogen, organic carbon and climate change
  •         Nutrient circular economy
  •         Phosphorus in food, from the farm to the consumer
  •         Ecological nutrient restoration & nutrient recovery from sediments and run-off water
  •         Tomorrow’s agricultural nutrient management and fertilisation
  •         Innovation and business solutions and technologies
  •         Environmental management of nutrients

Please see full information for submission of proposed talks / success stories / posters, stand space possibilities, registration fees, etc at

The European Commission has published a 3-part report on Critical Raw Materials (CRMs), on which stakeholder comment is invited. The stated objectives are to provide key data sources, promote best practices and identify possible further actions. The CRMs considered are 27 of the updated EU Critical Raw Material List (2017), so including both “phosphate rock” and “phosphorus” (meaning white phosphorus P4). The report estimates that 86% of phosphate rock (and also 24% of boron) are used in fertilisers, and 90% of white phosphorus in chemicals. It is noted that phosphorus recycling in biogenic wastes (manure, animal by-products, food wastes, wastewater) is “functional” and replaces primary phosphate rock consumption, as well as helping reduce eutrophication. The revision of the EU Fertilisers Regulation is presented, but no best practices are identified relevant to phosphorus. Horizon 2020 and LIFE projects addressing CRMs are noted: but none concerning phosphorus recycling. Proposed further EU policy actions potentially relevant to phosphorus include: recovery of CRMs from landfill, and development or optimisation of technologies or chemical processes for safe recycling or reuse of CRMs in the fertiliser and chemicals sectors.

“Report on Critical Raw Materials and the Circular Economy”, European Commission, DG GROW, 16 January 2018, 68 pages, ref. SWD(2018) 36 final

The second EU JRC report on ‘STRUBIAS’ recycled nutrient products (precipitated phosphate salts, ashes and processed ash products, biochars and pyrolysis products) in the EU Fertilisers Regulation is open to comment. This second report assesses economic and market aspects, in complement to a first technical report May 2017). Comments to ESPP by 7th March latest. More information in article in last eNews 19.

Documents are available at Comments must be transmitted via a member of the STRUBIAS working group (which includes: ESPP, DPP and several ESPP members). Please therefore transmit your comments to by 7th March latest.

For three days in January 2018, the German Phosphorus Platform (DPP) visited Italy to advise the country on setting up an organization for sustainable phosphorus management and phosphorus recycling, including meetings and events with parliamentarians, entrepreneurs, scientists and citizens. The highlight was a conference in the Italian Chamber of Deputies in Rome, the Camera, to which also several hundred people participated online. Italian Member of Parliament Alberto Zolezzi stated: "In Italy, environmental protection has not played a big role for too long. We now want to do our utmost to not only make a meaningful contribution to environmental protection with this platform, but above all to convince the Italian population of the importance of a more sustainable use of resources. From phosphorus recovery alone in Italy, we can save 100 million euros a year through improved water treatment, not to mention environmental damage (especially the emergence of alien species) and health care”. Daniel Frank, director of DPP, underlined that both the German and European phosphorus platform are ready to provide experience and to cooperate with the project in Italy. The Italian Parliament has agreed to support the initiative with € 100,000 in 2018.

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) with the North America Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance (SPA) are calling for study proposals (budget 50 000 US$) to identify and analyse phosphorus and nitrogen flow data aggregated for US and Canada wastewater treatment plants (wwtps), with the objective of establishing a mass balance for current levels of phosphorus and nitrogen flows and of recycling/reuse. The report aims to support WEF’s strategic objective to “Collaborate with water sector partners to define and create a bold, aspirational, and public call to action to accelerate resource recovery”. Data should cover influent flows to wwtps, co-digestion of other organics, wwtp effluent discharge, water reuse for irrigation, land use of biosolids, recovered phosphates, recovered energy and energy used.

“Preparation of Baseline Data to Establish the Current Amount of Resource Recovery at Water Resource Recovery Facilities (WRRFs)”, letter proposal submission deadline 28th February 2018 (5 PM EDT).

Website and email

Several consultations and challenges related to nutrient recycling and stewardship are now open for your input!

See our ESPP eNews 19 newsletter on top:

1. STRUBIAS market report open for consultation
2. Standards needs for the circular economy
3. EU public consultation on pharmaceuticals
4. Livestock nutrient flows and impact assessments consultation
5. Call for data on manure processing
6. Apply for the Baltic Sea nutrients and carbon reuse challenge
7. Survey on sustainable development in the livestock sector

ESPP has now an active Linkedin group on phosphorus/nutrient recycling and stewardship. Please subscribe and get interesting updates and discussions!

Use this direct link (if it works):
Or otherwise search for "ESPP" or "European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform" at Linkedin.

Feel welcome to start a discussion or respond to another existing one!

Newsletter about nutrient stewardship - European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform (ESPP).

Please subscribe 
Link to
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Consultations open for input
STRUBIAS market report open for consultation
Standards needs for the circular economy
EU public consultation on pharmaceuticals
Livestock nutrient flows and impact assessments consultation
Call for data on manure processing
Apply for the Baltic Sea nutrients and carbon reuse challenge
Survey on sustainable development in the livestock sector
ESPC3 call for presentations & success stories
Third European Sustainable Phosphorus Conference, Helsinki, 11-12 June 2018
EU Fertilisers Regulation moves to trilogue
Agreement on tightening EU waste legislation
Business call for further action on Circular Economy
Netherlands phosphorus emission trading approved
Sustainable phosphorus
Sustainability in the Food and Beverage Industry – ENG Conference
Climate change impacts on agricultural phosphorus losses
Phosphorus recovery & recycling
Nordic waste and water phosphorus network
Pharmaceuticals not found in struvite-fertilised tomatoes
Market report on nutrient recovery systems
Biogas success stories recycling nutrients
What is widdle?
Biochars show rich and varied phosphorus forms
Fertiliser effectiveness depends on soil chemistry and fertiliser placement
Recovered phosphates show good fertiliser performance
Stay informed
ESPP Members

The European Council (Member States) adopted its position on the Fertilisers Regulation proposal on 20th December. This is not yet published, but has been seen by some stakeholders. Media coverage indicates that Council’s position is to delay the proposed 60 mg/kgPO3 cadmium limit by eight years, then subject any possible reduction to evaluation. The position indirectly recognises the possibility of “Low carbon fertiliser” by specifying pathogen limits for inorganic fertilisers >1% organic carbon. Council proposals on animal by products however pose problems (“Whereas” n°s 10 and 12), as do proposals on digestates and composts (CMC3, CMC5) by requesting prior sanitation for input of animal by products (in particular manure): so effectively requiring ‘double sanitation’. The proposed Regulation now goes to the trilogue process where Parliament and Council negotiate (with support of Commission) to hopefully find a jointly acceptable text, with discussion usually addressing only points included in the amendments of either Council or Parliament.

Initially proposed EU Fertilisers Regulation text:

EU Parliament amendments:

Council amendments (not yet published) see

Council press release

Cross-sector industry joint statement

Conference Symbiosis and Circular Economy in fertilizers Are by-products a thing of the past? Unlocking the new fertilizer Regulation

7 March 2018 (10h-16h), Brussels, Belgium - Flyer - Email - Registration
Organized by Fertilizers Europe.

Every year, millions of tons of valuable by-products are used by industry as raw materials for making high quality finished mineral fertilizers. This one-day event will bring together industry experts, EU legislators and national authorities for presentations of case studies on practical uses of by-products. The participants will have the opportunity for a creative exchange-of-views on different ways to improve the EU Fertilisers Regulation and to ensure a continuation of good circular practices and economy.

The morning session will highlight viewpoints from professionals working in industrial production and will present practical examples of symbiosis within different fertiliser industry sectors. The afternoon will feature EU decision makers in this area, and will include a panel debate which will aim to find a solution within the political spectrum on the use of byproducts and industrial symbiosis.

Registration at this link

Nearly 100 stakeholders from organic farming organisations, organic and mineral fertiliser companies, compost producers, research and regulators discussed the possible use of recycled nutrient and recycled organic carbon products in organic agriculture. The meeting was co-organised by ESPP (European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform) and IFOAM EU (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements – EU Group).

All outcomes including report, programme and presentations can be found here.

The European Commission (JRC) circulated on 20th December 2017, for comment, a DRAFT “market study” (165 pages) for the ‘STRUBIAS’ recycled nutrient products (precipitated phosphate salts, ashes and processed ash products, biochars and pyrolysis products). This document provides the economic and market assessment necessary to justify future addition of these products to the (revised) EU Fertilisers Regulation annexes (as additional CMCs). This is the second part of JRC’s ‘STRUBIAS’ draft report, in complement to a first technical report (“draft recovery rules”, circulated May 2017).

The JRC draft “market study” assesses the possible sources of raw materials for nutrient recycling, STRUBIAS technologies and economic aspects (fertiliser prices, market for STRUBIAS products, economic externalities). Conclusions are that STRUBIAS recycled nutrient products could potentially substitute 25-40% of EU mineral phosphate fertiliser use. Meta-analyses conclude that struvite offers very good fertiliser effectiveness (as good as or better than mineral fertiliser) but that calcium phosphates are less effectives (total 26 studies for phosphate salts), that most ashes/ash based products are reasonable effective fertilisers (17 studies) except for steel slag based materials and non-processed sewage sludge incineration ash, and that data on biochars is inadequate.

JRC requests both detailed comments on the report text (corrections or additional information, line by line) and answers to the following questions. All input should be supported by references to publications or to provided documents:

  • sale prices for STRUBIAS materials
  • costs of regulatory procedures (REACH registration, national fertiliser regulation dossier, industry site authorisation to take in waste materials …)
  • laboratory analysis costs (for the different product criteria, contaminants, etc. proposed in the draft “recovery rules” report)
  • economic impacts of nutrient recovery to STRUBIAS products (environmental benefits, job creation, soil carbon restauration
  • information on metal industry slags (contaminants, fertiliser value …)
  • STRUBIAS nutrient recover routes or raw material sources which are not included in the report, where these are economically feasible and at technology readiness level 6-9
  • market potential of STRUBIAS products other than as P-fertilisers (e.g. as liming materials, soil improvers)

The JRC draft STRUBIAS “market study” open for comment and the detail of JRC’s questions are available on ESPP’s website: (also the May 2017 JRC “draft recovery rules” report and ESPP’s detailed submitted comments 14/9/17). Comments to the draft “market study” are requested by JRC for 15th March 2018. However, comments are not accepted directly by JRC and must be transmitted via a member of the STRUBIAS working group (which includes: ESPP, DPP and several ESPP members). Please therefore transmit your comments to by 28th February latest. For all comments please specify either page number and line number of document, or number of question addressed, and provide justification (references, documents).

ESPP will present and chair during the 6th Sustainable Development in the Food & Beverage Industry Conference, 16-17 January, Berlin (ENG European Networking Group). The conference focusses on the sustainable value chain for food production and consumption. ESPP will address phosphorus, from the field to diet, integrating nutrient stewardship and recycling into food production sustainability criteria. Conference speakers include CEOs and sustainability directors from leading food companies, supermarkets and restaurants, as well as the FAO and the European Commission.

SDFB Conference


The 3rd ManuREsource manure recycling conference brought together 230 participants in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, 27-28 November. This third conference, four years after the first ManuREsource in 2013, confirmed that a range of technologies are today available and proven for manure processing to enable energy recovery and nutrient recycling (see Newtrient catalogue and company success stories below), that the EU regulatory context is evolving considerably, and that the main obstacle to implementation continues to be economic.?

Outcomes of the ManuREsource conference 2017 can be found in our ESPP eNews newsletter no 18.

For the first time ever, a Joint Statement (14 organisations) has been established and signed by key industry federations and stakeholders concerned by the full range of soil improving products, growing media, organic and mineral fertilisers, biostimulants and nutrient recycling. This initiative is co-lead by ESPP (European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform). The Joint Statement underlines that the EU Fertilisers Regulation is strongly awaited by industry and stakeholders to develop the circular economy, and indicates nineteen issues which need to be resolved in the finalisation of the text in “trialogue” (European Parliament, Council and Commission) over the coming months. This follows the vote of the Parliament’s position 24/10/2017 with adoption of the Council position expected soon. The Joint Statement aims to positively contribute to finalisation of the Fertilisers Regulation, to improve dialogue and to achieve a final regulatory text which is workable in implementation, which will facilitate innovation and development of the nutrient circular economy and nutrient stewardship, whilst ensuring the protection of farmers, consumers and the environment.”

Cross-industry and stakeholder Joint Position
European Parliament plenary voted report (amendments submitted to trialogue) Commission proposed Regulation text

The European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) organized a Footprint Family workshop, 14-16 November 2017, Ispra (Italy), bringing together specialists from JRC and 11 invited international external experts on footprints. Footprints covered were the ecological, carbon, land, water, nitrogen, phosphorus, energy, material and biodiversity footprints. ESPP joined as expert and brought in knowledge and ideas from the phosphorus footprint perspective. The workshop aimed at creating an internationally recognized scientific panel to discuss synergies and conceptual differences between the different footprints and methods/data used, and to set the basis for footprints related to food production and consumption in the EU. Footprints are analysis and communication tools to assess the impact is of a person, product, company, sector, country in terms of resource use (depletion) and environmental pressure (pollution). The experts concluded that a combination of footprints (footprint family) would provide additional value for researchers, consumers and policymakers to work on sustainable production, consumption and waste management, with a clear link to environmental EU directives and the new UN Sustainable Development Goals. Furthermore it became clear that whereas for example the ecological, land, carbon and water footprint are well developed, for phosphorus and nitrogen there is a strong need for further development, in particular to take into account the virtual phosphorus consumption by imported products. Input on phosphorus and nitrogen footprints and their further development can be sent to

Outcomes of the finished EU research project One Planet Economy Network (OPEN) that focussed on the challenges Footprint Family as well

Running Our Phosphorus Future research project will cover the phosphorus footprint

See nitrogen footprint work in the Our Nutrient World report, prepared by the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM) in collaboration with the International Nitrogen Initiative

“Nitrogen footprints: past, present and future” Galloway et al. 2014, IOPScience
Website Global Footprint Network

A report for the Netherlands Government assesses possibilities for recovery of nutrients (other than phosphorus and nitrogen) from waste streams. Based on criticality of mineral resources and importance for agriculture, priorities are identified as: boron, cobalt, copper, potassium, molybdenum, selenium and zinc. Waste streams considered include sewage, industrial wastes, municipal solid waste, animal by products, coal ashes and other ashes. The report recommends further research into agricultural use of sewage biosolids (after e.g. composting) but notes the need to address possible risks of organic contaminants. The following recovery routes are identified as having potential: bioleaching and phytoremediation (plant uptake of metals), polymer assisted ultrafiltration (PAUF), fly ash wasting / metal separation (FLUWA) and the Ecophos process (recovery of other nutrients in the residue after phosphorus recovery). Particular potential is noted for zinc and potassium from sewage sludge, Ecophos residues and municipal waste incineration bottom and fly ash (MWIP); copper from MWIP; boron, cobalt and selenium from coal ashes.

“Possibilities and opportunities for recovery of nutrients other than phosphorus. An exploratory research”, by Tauw for the Netherlands Ministry for Infrastructure and the Environment, 29 September 2017, project n° 1244882

The new edition number 125 of the SCOPE newsletter is now online here:

Earlier edition can be found here:

To subscribe:


ESPP is facilitating at ManuREsource conference (Eindhoven, NL, 27-28 November) a Round Table on the EU Nitrates Directive and manure “in a processed form".

  • This will discuss the possible process to evaluate whether some recycled manure nutrient products should be treated like mineral fertilisers under the Nitrates Directive. The EU Nitrates Committee and the European Commission are considering engaging such an evaluation, possibly looking at the agronomic behaviour, fertiliser efficiency, risk of nitrate or phosphorus losses, and also other environmental impacts such as atmospheric emissions and overall life cycle analysis. The round table will address which manure recovered products could be concerned, definitions and criteria for such products, what data is available or needed. European Commission participation is expected.
  • This round table, 11h-13h on Tuesday 28th November, will be limited to 40 participants. To participate, you must register for ManuREsource then email the organisers indicating your wish to participate in this round table.


Steve Rowe of Newtrient (see ESPP’s SCOPE Newsletter n°125) will present at ManuREsource the US dairy industry (see ). ESPP is facilitating at ManuREsource conference (Eindhoven, NL, 27-28 November) one-to-one meetings to take forward extension of this catalogue to Europe, evaluation of further treatment technologies. For this, please register for the Conference then use the ManuREsource “matchmaking” page.

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