New publication: Will Indian consumers eat urine-fertilised food?

Decentralised sanitation technologies based on source separation of toilet waste have attracted a lot of research attention – the social sustainability of these technologies, not so much. To attempt to fill this gap, members of the Kretsloppsteknik group collaborated with researchers at VIT University, to explore what food consumers in India think of urine recycling. The results were recently published in the journal Water Research, where a survey of 1252 consumers at the VIT University campus revealed: 68% stated human urine should not be disposed but recycled, 55% considered it as fertiliser, but only 44% would consume food grown using it. The respondents’ ‘willingness to consume’ urine-fertilised food was found to be strongly influenced by their willingness to pay. It was also shown that simply appealing to people’s environmental sensitivities is not enough for introducing environmentally-friendly technologies like urine recycling, but that more targeted marketing messages are needed.

Simha, P., Lalander, C., Ramanathan, A., Vijaylakshmi, C., McConville, J.R., Vinnerås, B., Ganesapillai, M., 2018. What do consumers think about recycling human urine as fertiliser? Perceptions and attitudes of a university community in South IndiaWater Research. In Press. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2018.07.006

Contact Prithvi Simha

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