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Attitudes towards utilization of composted domestic waste, sludge, urine and faeces as manure in agriculture

Quitzau, Maj-Britt; Moeller, Jacob and Magid, Jakob (2004) Attitudes towards utilization of composted domestic waste, sludge, urine and faeces as manure in agriculture. National Environmental Research Institute of Denmark, Dept. of Policy Analysis.

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Summary

Workshoppens formål var at få en idé om, hvad der spiller ind på offentlighedens villighed til at acceptere genbrug af komposteret husholdningsaffald, slam og fæces som gødning i landbruget. Tanken var at få en indledende brainstorming og diskussion af holdningerne i samfundet.

Summary translation

The report contains a rather detailed abstract in English, giving all the main conclusions from the workshop that was held and originally reported in Danish.
The aim of the workshop was to map out what is important in relation to public acceptance of recycling of composted municipal sorted waste, sewage sludge, urine and feces as agricultural fertilization products.
The main results and conclusion from the workshop can be summarized as follows:
By and large, the participants personally were rather positive towards the recycling of the aforementioned products. It was clearly stated that the major barrier that is currently arising towards recy-cling is within the distribution network of food products. Thus less than a handful of people currently control the distribution network that supplies more than 80% of Danish supermarkets and local food stores. They appear to be in the process of backstopping the use of sewage sludge among producers that deliver cereals for breakfast products, and there is a possibility that the trend will increase. Similarly ARLA (a Danish-Swedish dairy giant) has announced a concept called ‘ARLA farm’ in which farmers that wish to deliver milk to ARLA’s network must sign a contract stipulat-ing among other things that they will not use sewage sludge on their farms at all. In Sweden there was a discussion prompted by the organic farmers that the ARLA contract should stipulate no use of GMO crops, but this was rejected out of hand.
Concept farming
The main idea of ‘concept farming’ is on one hand to insure against bad press – and on the other hand to be able to publicly subscribe to a green profile - to the extent that this can be done without too high political or economic costs.
The farmer representatives present expressed the need to comply with market demands on one hand, but were generally positive towards the recycling. Especially critical for organic farming is the ability to communicate that the products are healthy. On the other hand the representative from the organic farmers association presented the view that the use of conventional pig and cattle slurry could be more problematic due to the content of medicinal residues (antibiotics), and some heavy metals.
There was a general agreement that the distributors’ proactive reasoning does not really reflect a consumer demand.
Hygiene and purity was an issue, and it was generally perceived that sewage sludge was more prob-lematic than composted municipal waste and even human faeces. The group was somewhat divided in the issue on centralisation of waste management. It was claimed that more local systems were less susceptible to mistakes and thus more acceptable. On the other hand it was argued that the pro-fessionalism that can be obtained in larger systems is critical
Traceability
One possibility in current day centralized system is the attainment of traceability from each batch of treated waste. In a local system this could also be insured if it was based on local farmers as respon-sible for waste treatment, and the use of the waste on their own allotments.

EPrint Type:Report
Subjects: Food systems > Recycling, balancing and resource management
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF II (2000-2005) > III.3 (CRUCIAL) Closing the rural-urban nutrient cycle
Denmark > SOAR - Research School for Organic Agriculture and Food Systems
Deposited By: Magid, Assoc. Prof. Jakob
ID Code:3407
Deposited On:30 Sep 2004
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:29
Document Language:Danish - Dansk
Status:Unpublished
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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