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Although there is no physical short-term scarcity of phosphorus, its resource efficiency should be improved

: Scholz, Roland W.; Wellmer, Friedrich-Wilhelm


Journal of industrial ecology 23 (2019), No.2, pp.313-318
ISSN: 1088-1980
ISSN: 1530-9290
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IGB ()
circular economy; industrial ecology; materials efficiency; precautionary principle; recycling; wastewater

The German government has adopted a law that requires sewage plants to go beyond the recovery of phosphorus from wastewater and to promote recycling. We argue that there is no physical global short- or mid-term phosphorus scarcity. However, we also argue that there are legitimate reasons for policies such as those of Germany, including: precaution as a way to ensure future generations' long-term supply security, promotion of technologies for closed-loop economics in a promising stage of technology development, and decrease in the current supply risk with a new resource pool.