Within two years as much residual phosphate as possible must be brought back in the cycle and exported. That is the essence of the agreement that Dutch Secretary Joop Atsma of Environment, signed with 19 companies and institutions on October 4th.

Phosphate recovery from organic waste, waste water en manure
The agreement 'Closing the nutrient cycle ' was made with the full supply chain. By recovering phosphate from sewage, sludge and municipal organic waste and manure to be processed into products such as fertilizers and soil improvers substitutes, a waste product can again be given a useful purpose. It also produces less waste, less use of fertilizer and cleaner surface water.

First country in the world
Secretary Atsma: "I am proud that the Netherlands is the first country in the world to close its phosphate cycle. With this breakthrough we combine three advantages. Our environment is cleaner because we prevent phosphate in the soil and rivers. Our society is better off because we reuse raw materials from food, manure, sewage sludge. And advantage for businesses is that the excess phosphate can be exported. "

Preparatory studies by platform
The agreement was prepared by the Nutrient Platform, a network of Dutch organizations that share a common concern for nutrients depletion and its global impact. It brings together private companies, NGOs and knowledge institutions with the aim to contribute to a transition towards global sustainable use of nutrients. After having executed a number of preparatory studies in the previous years, eight parties in the Netherlands decided by the end of 2010 to set up the platform.

Strategic plan
To this effect a strategic plan was drafted and approved by the founders of the Nutrient Platform in December 2010. While the concern about a future shortage - especially for phosphorus was an important driver to start the platform, the founders also realized that much more can be contributed to this much needed transition process when efforts of various parties can be combined.

More information:
Nutrient Platform
c/o Netherlands Water Platform
The Hague, The Netherlands
+31 70 304 3700

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