Unlocking the nutrient recycling potential in the Baltic Sea Region

What are the bottlenecks to be solved and incentives needed for enhancing the nutrient recycling in the Baltic Sea Region? Answers to these questions were looked for in the workshop under the EUSBSR Annual Forum 2020.

The workshop was organized jointly by two Interreg Platform projects, both under the Interreg program area Clear Waters. The two projects, here for the first time combining their knowledge and expertise, are BSR Water platform project (Platform on Integrated Water Cooperation), which has compiled the results of several previous wastewater and water management projects, and SuMaNu platform project (Sustainable Manure and Nutrient Management for reduction of nutrient loss in the Baltic Sea Region), which has concentrated on manure and nutrient issues in agriculture.

Joining some of the main issues of the two platforms, three discussion points for the workshop were formulated:

  1. Boosting the market for recycled fertilizer products,
  2. Cooperation towards a sustainable phosphorus strategy in the BSR and
  3. Reducing pollutants in sewage sludge and ensuring the safety of recovered nutrients.

Choosing and formulating the joint discussion topics was an interesting process in itself, as so far the two platform projects had mostly concentrated in the issues in their respective “silos”. Even more interesting was to find out that the most central discussion points were actually not separate but rather joint for both of the projects.

The online workshop itself engaged about 50 stakeholders and experts.

And what were the answers found in the workshop, for the challenge of unlocking the nutrient recycling potential in the BSR? There was wide consensus on the fact that nutrient management and in particular nutrient recycling needs a stronger push using a range of policy tools:

  • regulatory instruments to increase the minimum standard of manure and sewage sludge management
  • economic instruments to create a market and demand for circular nutrients
  • communication instruments to reach farmers and consumers

For more information, please read articles at bsrwater.eu and at balticsumanu.eu.