Recycling – what is that?

When it concerns plant nutrients too often “recycling” is interpreted as “apply it to the soil”. The optimistic thought is that it should sooner or later be used by the soil – plant system. However, there are several complications:

Nitrogen and phosphorus are plant nutrients but they are also potential pollutants. When applied to soils, to what extent do they cause losses to the environment? To what extent do they deliver nutrients to the crops?

How does the recycling material interfere with the normal agricultural functions and management? The crop production of today is a precision enterprise both concerning amounts and timing. Uncertainties and complications have a cost, in resource use, yields or money.

“Rrcycling” sometimes is close to deposition. Enriched soils are used in situations where enrichment is not necessary. In that case the “recycling” is of no use. The pollution aspect may be more important, Examples are enriched soil material  for building golf courses etc or for covering waste deposits.

In short – waste materials said to be “a valuable nutrient source for agriculture” need a thorough  evaluation in several respects.

But then, of course, there may be overriding aspects. Even if agricultural use should cause some problems  it might be the least problematic compared to other alternatives.The “marketing” should be adapted accordingly.

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