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PRESS RELEASE Three ways to create economic growth from nutrient cycling
Nutrient cycling can speed up economic growth and promote Finland to become a forerunner of bio-based economy. Simultaneously the state of the Baltic Sea would improve. Sitra, Baltic Sea Action Group and Lappeenranta University of Technology propose concrete goals and three explicit procedures for the operational programme of Finland’s incoming government.
The benefit that Finns experience just from reduction of eutrophication would be 200 million euros a year. Reducing nutrient leakages, recycling the nutrients and reducing problems caused by nutrient leakages have a significant economic value. A sustainability consulting firm Gaia Consulting is researching the economic potential and possibilities in nutrient cycling for Sitra.
Nutrient cycling is enabled by a new economic model, circular economy. The transform into a greener economy is needed, because over-using of the natural resources of the planet cannot go on. In a circular economy, instead of using virginal materials, existing materials circle and added value is created for products with services and intelligence. At present essential nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus are being wasted in Finland and globally in a completely unsustainable way.
“Nutrient cycling enables sustainable food production from humans, benefits the Baltic Sea and fights the climate change“ summarises Ilkka Herlin, Baltic Sea Action Group’s Chairman of the board.
The three goals for nutrient cycling to enhance economic growth in Finland and to revive the state of the Baltic Sea:
• By the year 2020 10% of the manure originated in Finland is processed into precision fertilizers. An effort is put on developing nutrients recovery technologies.
• By the year 2023 100% of organic waste is recycled.
• By the year 2035 municipal wastewater treatment processes have been revised so that in addition to phosphorus, also nitrogen and carbon are recovered and recycled.
To accomplish the goals, we propose three procedures for the operational programme of the incoming government:
• Creating forerunner markets: The state must create incentives and adjust regulation that guides to nutrient cycling instead of using imported nutrients.
• Investments in research and development must be directed at new nutrient recycling technologies and experiments. Investments in development must especially be focused on e.g. treatment of municipal wastewater and other nutrient rich organic fractions.
• International co-operation: Finland and other countries in the Baltic Sea region must together make a stand, that nutrient policy framework is needed in EU and nutrient cycling should be a crucial part of European Commission’s circular economy strategy.