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Resource Efficiency

Sweden progresses towards efficient recycling of phosphorous


The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has published a report outlining Sweden’s potential for the sustainable recycling of phosphorous from waste components. The report was commissioned by the Swedish Government and will serve as a basis for national decision-making and the development of phosphorous recycling initiatives. Read more

Phosphorous is a non-renewable natural resource that is rapidly being depleted. Its use has become a prominent issue among Member States as a result of the European Commission’s consultation on phosphorous sustainability. The Swedish Government’s primary motivation behind this new report, entitled ‘Sustainable phosphorous recycling’, is to outline a resource-efficient pathway for recycling in line with national environmental quality objectives, including achieving a non-toxic environment.

Phosphorous is widely used across the Swedish economy in agriculture and the food chain, the forest industry, and particularly in the mining and steel industry. The report assesses phosphorous resources and the content of undesirable materials in various phosphorous sources. The aim is to have such low concentrations of pollutants in waste components that phosphorous can be recycled without endangering people’s health or the environment.

The report says the trend should be towards creating a long-term, sustainable and resource-efficient eco-cycle for phosphorous that is as free of hazardous materials as possible. It proposes regulatory requirements and a milestone target for sustainable recycling. This includes an intermediate objective of 40% of phosphorous in waste materials being recycled by 2018.

Find more info:

Press release

‘Sustainable phosphorous recycling’: full report and summary in English

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