Scandinavian spin on chemicals and sludge

A new Nordic internet database provides information on chemical substances in products on the Scandinavian market. Elsewhere, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency is calling for phosphorus to be recycled from sewage.

The Nordic database, called SPIN (Substances in Products in the Nordic Countries), is shared between Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and contains non-confidential information including volume data and types of products the chemicals are used. SPIN is compiled with data from national registers across Scandinavia and will be updated annually.

Meanwhile, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has presented the Swedish government with an action plan for recycling phosphorus from wastewater. The action plan also includes steps to limit the amount of pathogens and metals in sewage sludge to be spread on arable land.

The EPA has set targets for 2015 for at least 60% of phosphorus in sewage to be recycled to productive land, of which at least half should go to arable land. The plan also examines possibilities for recycling nutrients such as sulphur, nitrogen and potassium, and calls for stricter limits for metals such as cadmium, silver and mercury in all types of sewage, not just sludge spread on land.

“The cost of recycling nutrients from sewage will probably rise considerably, regardless of which system is used,” says Enog Enocksson, co-author of the study. “But it is difficult to estimate the cost of phosphorus recycling using sorting systems or phosphorus extraction systems, since the technology has not been tried out.”

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