TRUTHstudio | Phosphorus Waste in the US
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Information Design, Systems Mapping
About This Project

Rapid increases in phosphorus use raise both supply security and environmental concerns, and increasing the efficiency of phosphorus use (by reducing phosphorus waste) could reduce these impacts. TRUTHstudio collaborated with the authors of an important research study on this topic to create a visual representation of how phosphorus flows through the US economy. The graphic, which was published as part of the study, shows that only 15% of the total phosphorus extracted from nature for food production actually provides nutrition for people. The rest is lost to the environment, with major losses occurring during the livestock, meat and dairy production, and crop cultivation processes. The results highlight the need of a concerted effort by all entities along the life-cycle for efficient use of phosphorus.

Source: Suh, S., Yee, S. “Phosphorus use-efficiency of agriculture and food system in the US, Chemosphere. 2011 Aug;84(6):806-13.