In a natural ecosystem, nutrients cycle continuously, as minerals move from soil to plants to animals to decomposers, and back again to the soil. In our society, however, most nutrients are not recycled back to agricultural or natural ecosystems to continue sustainable biological cycles. Instead, the nutrients in food wastes and human wastes become pollutants in groundwater, streams , ponds, rivers, and the ocean.

A population of 6 billion cannot continuously waste all the nutrients in its food supply and hope to keep supplying food for a projected population of 10 billion. What is needed instead are systems that safely recycle “waste” nutrients back into productive agriculture. A sustainable society requires a sustainable agriculture: below, we offer two scenarios on how this can be achieved at the home and community levels.

Home-Scale Nutrient Reycling

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Community-Scale

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For more information, please visit the Cape Cod Eco-Toilet Center and Eco-Drum websites.