Invitation for urban gardeners to participate in the survey: „Closing the Human Nutrient Cycle“

March 22, 2023

Against increasingly recurrent droughts, the eutrophication of water bodies and the search for renewable sources of nutrients for industrial agriculture, the question arises: how can the way we treat our bodily waste change? The human nutrient cycle was broken with the introduction of flush toilets and water-based sewage systems (see figure). A solution that can potentially address the aforementioned challenges is the recovery of nutrients from our urine and feces through ecological sanitation. This can: a) reduce our daily water usage by approximately 30%, b) acquire a local and renewable source of nutrients, and c) ease the burden on the hydrological cycle and protect water bodies.

Whether or not a transformation process towards such a closing of the human nutrient cycle can be realized depends largely on the acceptance of the populace. Urban gardeners, who are nutrient "producers", "users" as well as "consumers", occupy an important interface along the value chain of nutrients and could therefore play a key/pioneering role in an ecological and socially compatible contribution to this sanitation and agricultural development.

To pursue this topic, an acceptance study is being conducted as part of a thesis, for which we are looking for interested gardeners who grow plants for their own consumption. If you would like to participate, simply answer this 10-minute online survey:

German version:

English version:

If you have any questions about this study or the topic in general, please contact:

Thank you so much for your interest!

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