Assessing Agroecology Benefits and Novel Chemical and AMR Risks in Adopting a Sanitation-Agriculture Circular Economy

Project Description

PIs: Professor Steven Banwart, Dr Laura Carter, Dr Katie McDermott, Dr Anthony Buckley

CIs: Professor Paul Kay, Professor Pippa Chapman, Professor Barbara Evans, and Professor Robert Aykroyd

This project aims to build a new network of companies, government and farming organisations and research and education institutions to accelerate and scale up the adoption of a sanitation-agriculture circular economy (SACE). We envision a circular economy where the resources of water, energy, carbon (C), and nutrient nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P) are recovered from livestock manure and urban sanitation effluents and sludges with impacts such as:

  • Reduced reliance on mineral N and P fertilisers and the large GHG emissions in their production,
  • Reduced loss of N, P as pollution in drainage from fields
  • Soil sequestration of C that reduces its release as GHGs to the atmosphere and improves soil structure.
  • One of the most challenging barriers to safely operating SACE is the widespread occurrence of antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents in manure and sanitation waste. The potential environmental and health risks of these in farm settings are currently unknown.

The long-term impact of this network will be to understand the hazards created at molecular scale, so that the benefits of SACE at landscape scale can be safely applied. A circular economy is essential in meeting global agricultural needs, especially enhancing the role that farming can play in climate control and in our move towards Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions whilst minimising the impact on the environment and animal and human health.

Workshop - Assessing Agroecology Benefits and Novel Chemical and AMR Risks in Adopting a Sanitation-Agriculture Circular Economy (SACE)

Workshop date: 15th February 09.00-12.00 (GMT) hosted through Zoom.

Purpose of the Workshop:

To create a UK-led Innovation Network to support a safe transition to a sanitation-agriculture circular economy. A Sanitation-Agriculture Circular Economy can recycle essential resources for farming through the recovery of water, biomass, and nutrients from sanitation waste solids, effluents, and livestock manure at scale. This offers benefits to farming practices by reducing the reliance on chemical fertiliser inputs with multiple benefits that improve soil health, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farming, and reduce water pollution in drainage from fields. However, there are potential risks and challenges associated with this solution and these need to be fully understood to enable resource recovery to operate in a safe and sustainable manner in the long term.

Workshop Objectives:

  • Scope the potential, scale of value and existing capacity to establish Sanitation-Agriculture Circular Economy at scale in the UK and beyond.
  • Identify examples of Sanitation-Agriculture Circular Economy and any barriers to scaling up.
  • Agree the next steps to accelerate and scale up implementation of a Sanitation-Agriculture Circular Economy.

If interested, please register by emailing