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Willingness among food consumers to recycle human urine as crop fertiliser: Evidence from a multinational survey

Simha, Prithvi and Barton, Melissa Alane and Perez Mercado, Luis Fernando and Mcconville, Jennifer and Lalander, Cecilia and Magri, Maria Elisa and Dutta, Shanta and Kabir, Humayun and Selvakumar, Albert and Zhou, Xiaoqin and Martin, Tristan and Kizos, Thanasis and Kataki, Rupam and Gerchman, Yoram and Herscu-Kluska, Ronit and Alrousan, Dheaya and Goh, Eng Giap and Elenciuc, Daniela and Glowacka, Aleksandra and Korculanin, Laura and Tzeng, Rongyu Veneta and Ray, Saikat Sinha and Niwagaba, Charles and Prouty, Christine and Mihelcic, James R. and Vinnerås, Björn (2021). Willingness among food consumers to recycle human urine as crop fertiliser: Evidence from a multinational survey. Science of the Total Environment. 765 , 144438
[Research article]

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Abstract

Source-separating sanitation systems offer the possibility of recycling nutrients present in wastewater as crop fertilisers. Thereby, they can reduce agriculture's impacts on global sources, sinks, and cycles for nitrogen and phosphorous, as well as their associated environmental costs. However, it has been broadly assumed that people would be reluctant to perform the new sanitation behaviours that are necessary for implementing such systems in practice. Yet, few studies have tried to systematically gather evidence in support of this assumption. To address this gap, we surveyed 3763 people at 20 universities in 16 countries using a standardised questionnaire. We identified and systematically assessed cross-cultural and country-level explanatory factors that were strongly associated with people's willingness to consume food grown using human urine as fertiliser. Overall, 68% of the respondents favoured recycling human urine, 59% stated a willingness to eat urine-fertilised food, and only 11% believed that urine posed health risks that could not be mitigated by treatment. Most people did not expect to pay less for urine-fertilised food, but only 15% were willing to pay a price premium. Consumer perceptions were found to differ greatly by country and the strongest predictive factors for acceptance overall were cognitive factors (perceptions of risks and benefits) and social norms. Increasing awareness and building trust among consumers about the effectiveness of new sanitation systems via cognitive and normative messaging can help increase acceptance. Based on our findings, we believe that in many countries, acceptance by food consumers will not be the major social barrier to closing the loop on human urine. That a potential market exists for urine-fertilised food, however, needs to be communicated to other stakeholders in the sanitation service chain. (C) 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V.

Authors/Creators:Simha, Prithvi and Barton, Melissa Alane and Perez Mercado, Luis Fernando and Mcconville, Jennifer and Lalander, Cecilia and Magri, Maria Elisa and Dutta, Shanta and Kabir, Humayun and Selvakumar, Albert and Zhou, Xiaoqin and Martin, Tristan and Kizos, Thanasis and Kataki, Rupam and Gerchman, Yoram and Herscu-Kluska, Ronit and Alrousan, Dheaya and Goh, Eng Giap and Elenciuc, Daniela and Glowacka, Aleksandra and Korculanin, Laura and Tzeng, Rongyu Veneta and Ray, Saikat Sinha and Niwagaba, Charles and Prouty, Christine and Mihelcic, James R. and Vinnerås, Björn
Title:Willingness among food consumers to recycle human urine as crop fertiliser: Evidence from a multinational survey
Series Name/Journal:Science of the Total Environment
Year of publishing :2021
Volume:765
Article number:144438
Number of Pages:10
Publisher:ELSEVIER
ISSN:0048-9697
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 105 Earth and Related Environmental Sciences > Environmental Sciences (social aspects to be 507)
Keywords:Consumer attitude, Theory of planned behaviour, Nutrient recycling, Source separation, Sanitation, Wastewater treatment
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-111090
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-111090
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.144438
Web of Science (WoS)000616232300143
ID Code:25951
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Energy and Technology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:26 Oct 2021 09:25
Metadata Last Modified:26 Oct 2021 09:31

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