Environment – Nutrient Cycling

Today I prepared a meal of leftovers from our Christmas dinner and an Indian-Chinese fried rice meal. After I ate I went to rinse the bowl of the orange colored turmeric residue stuck to it, and it occurred to me what a waste it is to rinse even these minute remnants of health down the drain.

What if our domiciles were engineered to recycle all waste streams, whether on-site with gray water and kitchen scraps, locally in the community for items like paper and yard waste, or in the case of plastics, metals and such, on a regional level.

If our ability to cycle even small amounts of nutrients on-site goes up, then we keep more vitality local, and by using the (waste) nutrients from our wash water to grow more food for ourselves, and cycle those nutrients as much as possible, we reduce the long distance food hauling fuel footprint as well.

Each time we cycle the nutrients on-site, we are keeping fertility for our benefit, reducing fertilization costs to us, as well as stretching commercially mined fertilizers and minerals further, giving future generations more time to improve the nutrient cycling even further.

To be truly effective, the waste recovery process needs to start as close as possible to the usage source. The sooner we can intercept waste reclamation, the easier it will be to do so. So, not only would we be able to recycle nutrients, but also vital resources such as water. By recycling both nutrients and water on-site, say by using the wash water from the kitchen sink to fertigate food plants, we also reduce our potable water needs keeping us from depleting fresh water resources, especially aquifers that are depleting at alarming rates.

Our ultimate goal should be leaving this world in the same or better shape than we found it – so, if I get a chance to build a new home, I plan on designing in as many resource capturing means as possible.

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