Are We Near Peak Phosphorus?


It takes a lot of phosphorus to support our diet-about 222.5kg per person per year for a normal balanced diet. Professor Stuart White, Director, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney suggests that it follows the same Hubberts Peak pattern as oil, and that we are just about at the peak. He writes in Sustainable Phosphorus Futures that while oil can be replaced with other fuels, "Quite simply, without phosphorus, we cannot produce food."

The Canadian Broadcasting Company recently did a radio documentary on the subject, and concluded that we are literally pissing it away.

urine-separating-toilet photo

As April noted in her post Pee Power! Recycling Urine to Powder Makes Superior Fertilizer, we toss away phosphorus every time we go to the bathroom, with our silly system of using fresh water to wash away our waste.

John Laumer noted also:

Despite making up only 1 per cent of the volume of waste water, urine contributes about 80 per cent of the nitrogen and 45 per cent of all the phosphate. Peeing into the pan immediately dilutes these chemicals with vast quantities of water, making the removal process unnecessarily inefficient.

And Warren quoted Cynthia Mitchell, an Associate Professor from the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology in Sydney, in his post P is for Phosphorus (As Well As Human Urine):

"Urine will soon be too precious to flush down the loo."

Have a listen at the CBC
More on Phosphorus:
Waste Not, Want Not: The Future of Toilets
I.P. Freely - On The Organic Cabbages
Yellow is the New Green

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