New Sustainable Fertilizers From Building Waste, Rain & Solar Energy

Nutrient Recovery Services is closing the loop on fertilizer production.


Nutrient Recovery ServicesNutrient Recovery Services (NRS), a small minority-owned Oregon manufacturer, has introduced a sustainable fertilizer with a unique production method. Operating inside the PAE Living Building in downtown Portland, OR, NRS creates a sustainable fertilizer from the building’s waste, rain water, and solar energy.

Pete Munoz and Pat Lando, co-founders of NRS, have decades of experience in high-performance landscape and building projects. After years of thought and innovation, they identified a gap in the sustainable water, energy, nutrient, and ecology nexus. NRS’s products are a step towards creating a circular economy, where nutrients are recycled creating a fossil-fuel-free fertilizer alternative.

The PAE Living Building, a five-story class-A office building, is designed to meet the Living Building Challenge, the most stringent building rating system in the world. It’s also now the first building in the world to manufacture (or create) carbon neutral fertilizer products from waste.

A team of engineers developed an ultra pure distillation process able to capture nutrients from waste water. Ammonia vapor is condensed as ammonium bicarbonate. This clear solution is a ready-to-use agricultural amendment with a high pH and containing approximately 6% ammonium-N.

What is left is treated again by adding magnesium, which precipitates out phosphorous creating a slurry. Once the slurry is collected and dried, it’s an effective slow-release phosphorus-rich fertilizer. The remaining sterile waste containing salt, trace constituents, and other organic compounds are safely disposed.

What makes this process truly sustainable is its sole reliance on renewable resources, with the manufacturing process powered by 100% solar energy and harvested rainwater. The fertilizers are safe, ready-to-use products for all edible, ornamental, and native landscapes. The liquid fertilizers promote vegetative growth and are an excellent choice for the fast application of nitrogen to plants.

“Our vision at Nutrient Recovery Services is to develop ways every community can help shift toward a more resilient agriculture system,” says Munoz. “By creating ecologically sound agricultural additives and fertilizers, we aim to contribute to the development of a robust circular nutrient economy that repairs the way we produce food and fiber in our communities.”

The fertilizer products are now available online at

For more on plant health and/or sustainability, see:

Permaculture Landscape Principles

Get Equipped: Pesticides, Herbicides & Fertilizers

Spring Lawn Care Refresher


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