Deakin University

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Determining the potential role of the waste sector in decoupling of phosphorus: a comprehensive review of national scale substance flow analyses

journal contribution
posted on 2019-05-01, 00:00 authored by S Rahman, Rubel Chowdhury, N G D'Costa, Nick MilneNick Milne, M Bhuiyan, M Sujauddin
This study, the first of its kind, presents a comprehensive assessment of national scale phosphorus (P) flow in the waste sector with particular focus on P recovery. The largest inflow of P in waste stream is seen in China (8124 kt), with the next largest inflow, the USA, being significantly less at 431 kt. Countries through east Asia and western Europe tend to show moderate inflows, e.g. Japan (131.66 kt), France (115.70 kt), UK (76 kt) and South Korea (65.40 kt), while northern European nations have low P inflows, Denmark (10 kt), Sweden (10 kt) and Norway (6.70 kt). The most efficient recovery rate of P from the waste sector is seen to be in Finland (67.50%). Denmark (53.70%), France (47.80%) and UK (47.40%), all have commendable recovery tracks. Even though USA has the second largest inflow of P, their recovery track is one of the lowest (2 kt), making its recycling efficiency minute (0.50%), while with a recovery of 3148 kt P, this is 39% for China. This study has also calculated the substitutability of each country's recycled P waste in minimizing extraction of virgin P resource/importing P, as found to be the highest in China (49.40). The UK and Sweden have the second and third highest substitutability of 26.10 and 19.80 respectively, while the Netherlands (1.40) and USA (0.05) have the lowest. This study can be used as a guideline for future research on P recovery from waste because it provides a comprehensive blueprint of P flow in this sector and prescribes a general framework for better recovery.



Resources, conservation and recycling




144 - 157




Amsterdam, The Netherlands







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2019, Elsevier B.V.