Scientists testing sustainable P reclaimed from waste
"One of the things we need to look at here in the Puget Sound is if this is slow-release,” Hummel said. "We think it is and (we) are very interested in a slow-release product so it doesn’t leach out the bottom of the pots, run down the drain and into the streams, rivers and Puget Sound.”
Hummel is also interested in researching how the product interacts with Douglas fir potting mixes popular in the Pacific Northwest.
Variety of products
Most phosphorous in the U.S. comes from Florida. But U.S. production could decline sharply in the next 30 years, Fullerton said. Then the world will depend mainly on stockpiles in Morocco, China, South Africa and Jordan.
With the federal funding and WSU research, Multiform Harvest would use anaerobic digesters to recycle waste into crystalized solid fertilizer, providing growers with products like earth spikes, mixes and tablets that release nutrients.
"If we can take … a waste disposal problem and turn it into a fertilizer that actually replaces something we have to mine and are running out of - that’s sustainability,” Hummel said.