Biodegradable pots made from cattle manure

Livestock intensification and consequently, manure production and management in Northwest Europe has resulted in severe environmental impacts. To counter these impacts, development and optimisation of nutrient recovery technologies are on the rise. The production of biodegradable pots made from cattle manure is a technology that allows effective utilisation of animal manure in the cultivation of garden crops. This technology can help in curbing the existing use of plastic pots, paving way into a sustainable use of resources and waste management.

Within the ReNu2Farm project, biodegradable flowering pots produced from animal manure were tested for nutrient composition. The cattle farm owned by Wim Somers is located in Essen (Belgium), and houses 130 cows producing approximately 1800 m3 of manure per year. Biodegradable flowering pots are manufactured in this farm using the produced manure. The analyses of the biodegradable pots to determine its macro- and micro-nutrient content were done to gauge its potential marketability. From the performed analyses it is observed that the pots contain the necessary plant macro- and micro-nutrients in low, albeit, detectable amounts. When used with proper dosage of fertilisers, these pots could act in enhancing the growth of plants grown in them. Further research in terms of plant-growth experiments in controlled conditions need to be performed to validate this. Also, tests to observe the biodegradability of the pots in soil over different periods of time, need to be done. Research on the plant-availability of the nutrients present in these pots over periods of degradation of the pots in the soil also need to be monitored.

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