STAD OCH LAND Kretsloppsanpassat avlopp – då, nu och i framtiden / The city and the countryside: Recycling sewage systems – past, present and future
This paper analyses the history of recycling from the mid-19th century to the present “recycling society”. New chemical and sanitary theories made the recycling idea boom in the 1850s and during the second half of the century major tests were made with closets separating urine and faeces, factories for extracted faeces and sewage systems for excrement. At the beginning of the 20th century these systems were abandoned and replaced by outlets. To solve the growing problem of water-pollution sewage systems and sewage-treatment plants were set up in the 1950s and 1960s. However, behind this development recycling was not considered. Instead all sewage water from dwellings and industries were brought together in the same pipe. This has caused large problems for later efforts to recycle the content of the sewer-water. Since the plant-nutrients becomes diluted and mixed with toxic substances, all recycling for agricultural use have been prevented. At the same time agriculture depended on artificial fertilisers, produced by energy-demanding methods and of non-renewable resources. In urban and rural areas these systems created a “path-dependency”, which make it difficult to break the linear flows of society. At the end of this paper we will present projects which implement the new recycling technology, and which can be seen as initiatives to break away from path-dependency.