Urban Nutrient Cycles Impact on Urban Planning

On March 28, 2017 the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) issued the groundbreaking Urban Biocycles scoping paper as an introduction to a Circular Economy approach for urban nutrient cycles. The well-researched paper addresses the valuable nutrients within current organic waste streams and how urban environments disrupt nature's perfected nutrient cycles.

Urban development breaks natural cycles by transporting nutrients outside of their respective cyclic boundaries. Agricultural products are often not consumed within the farm vicinity. Thus, plant | animal remains no longer decompose back into the farm grounds as nutrients for the soil's microbial community. Two challenges ensue: 1> soils are deprived of nutrients within the cycle and 2> nutrients are deposited outside of the cycle system in the form of food waste and human | animal excrement.

By crafting regenerative nutrient cycles within urban environments, organic streams shift from "expensive waste" to valuable raw materials.

LAI Atlanta Chapter member Holly Elmore of Elemental Impact is listed in the global scoping paper credits as an Expert Input and Case Study Contributor.

The Zero Waste in ACTION Blog article, A Circular Economy Approach for Urban Nutrient Cycles, introduces the prominent EMF paper and summarizes several of the common topics throughout the paper.




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