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.
Technological advances in the sanitation sector have made it feasible to safely recycle human wastes to agricultural areas to use as fertilisers. From a social science perspective, these developments open up a new array of questions: for instance, are farmers be willing to handle and use such fertilisers? How do farmers perceive such materials – as wastes or valuable products? What factors shape these perceptions and subsequent attitudes towards these practices?Foto: Feng Zhong (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)