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Exploiting the co-benefits of ecological sanitation

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Publication details

JournalCurrent opinion in environmental sustainability
DatePublished - Oct 2012
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)431–435
Original languageEnglish


Closing the nutrient loop by exploiting the co-benefits of nutrient recovery from human excreta has the potential to improve soil fertility, food security and reduce water use. This paper reviews the potential of using human excreta as an agricultural resource. Ecological sanitation (ecosan) is characterised by a ‘sanitise and recycle’ process based on preventing pollution, sanitising urine and faeces and recovering nutrients for food production. Human excreta can result in higher cabbage yields compared to the use of goat manure while urine-fertilised plants produce equal amounts of tomato fruits as mineral fertilised plants. However, a key challenge is how ecosan can be cost-effectively scaled-up in an increasingly urbanised and economic constrained world.

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