The technology of urine separation and the recycling of anthropogenic nutrients as fertilizer in agriculture are considered as major innovations to improve the sustainability of today's urban wastewater management. The acceptance of consumers will be key for the introduction of the new technology. Citizens will have to make important decisions in their role as tenants and owners of houses and as consumers buying products fertilized with urine. Consumer attitudes towards the new technology were explored in a number of citizen focus groups in Switzerland. Focus groups are deliberate, moderated group discussions with informed citizens on a certain topic. The information was provided by a computer based information system specifically designed for this purpose. The acceptance of individual citizens for the new technology proved to be quite high. The majority of the citizens expressed their willingness to move into an apartment with NoMix toilets and to buy food fertilized with urine. However, they were not willing to accept additional financial costs or efforts. Arguments related to long-term sustainability (closing nutrient cycles) were of less importance than arguments that relate directly to the effects of micropollutants on human and ecosystem health. For the introduction of the new technology on a wide scale it will thus be crucial to explore the fate and effects of micropollutants.
Investigating consumer attitudes towards the new technology of urine separation
C. Pahl-Wostl, A. Schönborn, N. Willi, J. Muncke, T.A. Larsen; Investigating consumer attitudes towards the new technology of urine separation. Water Sci Technol 1 July 2003; 48 (1): 57–65. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2003.0015
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