Nutrient recovery from municipal solid waste leachate in the scope of circular economy: Recent developments and future perspectives

Erşahin M. E., Çiçekalan B., Cengiz A. İ., Zhang X., Ozgun H.

Journal of Environmental Management, vol.335, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 335
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2023.117518
  • Journal Name: Journal of Environmental Management
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, PASCAL, Aerospace Database, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Communication Abstracts, EMBASE, Environment Index, Geobase, Greenfile, Index Islamicus, MEDLINE, Metadex, Pollution Abstracts, Public Affairs Index, Veterinary Science Database, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: Circular economy, Leachate, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Recovery-based fertilizer, Resource recovery
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Holistically considering the current situation of the commercial synthetic fertilizer (CSF) market, recent global developments, and future projection studies, dependency on CSFs in agricultural production born significant risks, especially to the food security of foreign-dependent countries. The foreign dependency of countries in terms of CSFs can be reduced by the concepts such as the circular economy and resource recovery. Recently, waste streams are considered as a source in order to produce recovery-based fertilizers (RBF). RBFs produced from different waste streams can be substituted with CSFs as input for agricultural applications. Municipal solid waste leachate (MSWL) is one of the waste streams that have a high potential for RBF production. Distribution of the published papers over the years shows that this potential was noticed by more researchers in the millennium. MSWL contains a remarkable amount of nitrogen and phosphorus which are the main nutrients required for agricultural production. These nutrients can be recovered with many different methods such as microalgae cultivation, chemical precipitation, ammonia stripping, membrane separation, etc. MSWL can be generated within the different phases of municipal solid waste (MSW) management. Although it is mainly composed of landfill leachate (LL), composting plant leachate (CPL), incineration plant leachate (IPL), and transfer station leachate (TSL) should be considered as potential sources to produce RBF. This study compiles studies conducted on MSWL from the perspective of nitrogen and phosphorus recovery. Moreover, recent developments and limitations of the subject were extensively discussed and future perspectives were introduced by considering the entire MSW management. Investigated studies in this review showed that the potential of MSWL to produce RBF is significant. The outcomes of this paper will serve the countries for ensuring their food security by implementing the resource recovery concept to produce RBF. Thus, the risks born with the recent global developments could be overcome in this way besides the positive environmental outcomes of resource recovery.