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From waste to resource: A systems dynamics and stakeholder analysis of phosphorus recycling from municipal wastewater in Europe

Nedelciu, Claudiu-Eduard, Ragnarsdóttir, Kristín Vala, Stjernquist, Ingrid
Ambio 2019 v.48 no.7 pp. 741-751
case studies, cities, interviews, issues and policy, mining, municipal wastewater, phosphorus, politics, prioritization, profitability, recycling, sludge, stakeholders, supply chain, Hungary
Recycling Phosphorus (P) from urban wastewater can secure part of domestic agricultural P supply and contribute to a circular P supply chain. In this paper, we use literature review, stakeholder interviews and analysis, and systems dynamics for the capital cities of Stockholm and Budapest as case studies. We find that political support is a prerequisite for developing the P recycling sector, and policy makers are the most influential stakeholders. P criticality is the main driver for political support. P externalities from mining to sludge disposal should be considered when evaluating P criticality and recycling profitability. We conclude with policy recommendations for the development of the P recycling sector, arguing for legally binding P recycling targets and prioritization of the safest technological solutions available. Our analysis identifies three policy action indicators and five policy interventions in the recycling system.