Phosphorus cycle: A broken biogeochemical cycle

James Elser, Elena Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

715 Scopus citations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-31
Number of pages3
Issue number7367
StatePublished - Oct 6 2011


Urine-separating toilets and latrines can help to capture nutrients for return to the soil as well as improve sanitation in the developing world. Already deployed in Europe, the NoMix toilet captures urine in the front and faeces in the back, diverting the urine for recycling at household, neighbourhood or city scale. Urine-separating latrines are now being installed on a relatively large scale in Durban, South Africa, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Another low-cost solution is the Peepoo, a single-use, self-sanitizing, biodegradable bag that captures human excreta and can be used, or even sold, as fertilizer 2–4 weeks later. For the poorest of the poor, it would be a potentially radical transformation if their own ‘waste’ could become a source of income.

FundersFunder number
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

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