Release of the DIN SPEC 91421 - First and Only Product Standard that Defines the Quality of Recycled Fertilizers made from Human Faeces from Dry Toilets

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  • FinnS
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Release of the DIN SPEC 91421 - First and Only Product Standard that Defines the Quality of Recycled Fertilizers made from Human Faeces from Dry Toilets

Dear all,

with the DIN SPEC 91421 the first and only product standard on the definition of the quality of recycled fertilizers made from human faeces from dry toilets has been released. So far, it is only available in German and can be downloaded here .
As a reaction of the launch, Enno from the German company " Goldeimer " has published an article  in which he explains the impact of the document. I have translated the article to share it here in the Forum:

"DONALD IS GONE, THE DIN SPEC IS HERE!
People hold on to your hats: DIN SPEC 91421 has just been released, a few weeks earlier than expected and a few months later than originally planned ( FREE DOWNLOAD ). From now on it is the first and only product standard that defines the quality of recycled fertilizers made from human faeces from dry toilets. Doesn't sound exciting? But it is. Let me give you an example. Imagine you play great football with your team, there is a referee who whistles really well, but there are no rules the referee can apply...

HOW IT BEGAN
I don't want to explain in this blog article so much where the DIN SPEC is going to go. This has already happened in the other two blog articles " Our dream of the shit forest " and " When is shit no longer shit? ". In this article I would like to take a brief look at how the DIN SPEC came about, introduce the DIN SPEC itself and take a look behind the scenes: It was in the middle of the summer of 2018 when Ari - officially Dr.-Ing. Ariane Krause - from the Leibniz Institute for Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ) started pulling the strings and initiating the DIN SPEC 91421. First step: DIN CONNECT applied for funding, which made the costly development of such a DIN SPEC for our association possible. A large part of the so-called consortium - the circle of people who have actively participated in the DIN SPEC - is made up of members of NetSan e.V. (see info box on the right). Ari did the grant acquisition with her colleague Franziska Häfner. Second step: Wait... Third step: Approximately half a year later the acceptance came. A first jubilation went through the rows. We had funds from the DIN CONNECT pot and were allowed to start. Fourth step: We formed up and distributed responsibilities. Thanks to Ari as project coordinator we officially started the process of developing the DIN SPEC at the end of May 2019 with a kick-off meeting at DIN in Berlin.

WHAT IS A DIN SPEC? HOW DOES IT COME ABOUT?
We always say that a DIN SPEC (from "specification") is the little sister of a DIN standard. DIN stands for German Institute for Standardization. In addition to the importance of these two types of documents, the effort required to develop a DIN SPEC is also less. This means that fewer experts* and interested parties have to be involved in such a consortium. Theoretically, 3 organizations are sufficient. In the case of the DIN SPEC it is sufficient if the draft is agreed upon internally within the consortium. A partial consensus is sufficient to decide on draft and publication. With a DIN more loops are necessary. For example, the draft has to be published and feedback has to be obtained, and in the case of voting in the consortium only the full consensus counts. This means that all employees agree.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A DIN SPEC?
With a DIN SPEC, a product standard can be created in a relatively short time, which can be used to describe technologies or products that have not yet been standardized. This can be in the interest of a quick market launch of such a technology or product or, as in our case, to be able to define uniform limit values for pollutants and pathogens or minimum nutrient contents and to pin down these in a document. Visible to all. In other words, the ref's booklet with the rules of soccer. DIN now ensures that the DIN SPEC does not conflict with existing standards and publishes them free of charge and internationally.

WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS OF DIN SPEC 91421?
An introduction is given to the subject of cycle-oriented sanitary systems and fertilizers made from human faeces. According to the German Association for Water Management, Wastewater and Waste, if such sanitary systems were to be used across the board, it would be possible to (2015), recycled fertilizers from human excreta could replace 17% to 25% of the synthetic mineral fertilizers used in Germany, depending on the nutrient, and thus make an important contribution to resource and climate protection. The following application area - i.e. the answer to the question of what this DIN SPEC applies to and definitions of terms. There you will learn, for example, what "customary aggregates" or "material flow separation" are. It continues with the chapter Requirements. And here it becomes really exciting: 4 risk categories are introduced, which have accompanied us like a red thread during the development of the DIN SPEC. This reads like this (source: DIN SPEC 91421):
  • "Disease hygiene and infection protection: Human excreta may contain pathogens. Improper treatment of human excreta therefore poses a risk in terms of epidemic hygiene. For this reason, pathogens must be eliminated by appropriate treatment in the preparation of contents from dry toilets. In order to prevent the transmission of diseases, products used as recycled fertilizer in horticulture must be harmless in terms of epidemic hygiene. In order to provide this proof, the product is analyzed for a selection of "indicator organisms"".
  • "Plant hygiene: If plant additives are used for treatment (e.g. green cuttings in composting), the treatment process must ensure the elimination of weed seeds and the killing of phytopathogens".
  • "Pollutant poverty: With regard to the absence of pollutants, organic trace substances such as pharmaceuticals and hormones are particularly relevant in the case of recycled fertilizers from the contents of dry toilets; heavy metals and microplastics in human excreta do not represent a significant risk. In addition, the input of pollutants by toilet-related and/or recycling-related additives must be avoided".
  • "Horticultural suitability: Horticultural suitability is given according to the nutrients contained in urine and faeces. The fertilizing effect depends on the nutrient content and availability (e.g. nutrient form and water solubility) as well as the total nutrient supply of the recycled fertilizers. Depending on the content of the main nutrients nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) or potassium (K) and their ratios to each other, certain fertilizer types can be assigned, e.g. NPK, PK, NK fertilizers. In addition, the fertilizers differ in their suitability as fertilizers with short-term or long-term effects".
There follow maaaaaaany pages with tables full of limit values and minimum contents. These pages don't look like much at first, but this is the core of DIN SPEC. So if a laboratory is now commissioned to analyse, for example, composted human faeces, the laboratory will use the values from these tables as reference values. And this was not possible before.
In the appendix there are also notes on sampling for analyses of the recycled fertilizers, an open list of possible laboratories for such analyses, possible (permissible) deviations of the analyses - e.g. it is not necessary to analyze for all 5 pathogens if only harmless urine is analyzed. Another great and again very tangible chapter of the appendix are the practical recommendations for use. These are divided into toilet operation, treatment of cocoa and pipi and horticultural application.
Last but not least, the last chapter presents the results of a comprehensive proof of concept. The aim here was to apply the limit values and minimum contents defined in the DIN SPEC for various recycled fertilizers from different treatment processes (e.g. composting, pyrolysis, nutrient recovery from urine) and, in feedback with various laboratories, to specify precisely the analysis methods to be used, so that these can then be communicated in the DIN SPEC tables and can be used in the future. Result: everything chico.

NEXT STEPS
The next step in the direction of " When is shit no longer shit? " has already been taken by the fantastic people of Finizio . Many of you will be present in the form of composted festival cocoa from 2019 ;-). On 20.10.2020 the FIRST OFFICIAL FIELD EXAMINATION in Germany started with the involvement of the Brandenburg fertilizer control. The aim of the trial is to demonstrate the positive properties of fertilizer made from human shiet on 10 ha over 3 years. 
The plan is then with the results of the experiment, the DIN SPEC including further research work (see further information) at some point to knock on the door of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

WHERE IS THE JOURNEY GOING?
1.5 years after the start of the development, the time has come. The DIN SPEC was published in early November. All participants are proud and happy to be able to close this chapter for the time being. It will continue, because DIN SPECs are touched and updated every 3 years. We are curious to see where the journey will take us. With this DIN SPEC there are now quality standards for human faeces for the first time and in our opinion this will start a wave of transformation. If not immediately, then in the long run. Because one thing is certain: The sanitary turnaround will come! There will come a time when there will be no more flush toilets and when each of us will promote soil fertility with her/his legacy."

I think it is an interesting publication and definately a change in the enabling environment!!
Enjoy reading and with best regards,

Finn
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  • fppirco
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Re: Release of the DIN SPEC 91421 - First and Only Product Standard that Defines the Quality of Recycled Fertilizers made from Human Faeces from Dry Toilets

Hi,
Very interesting, what about it's English language version?
Regards

Mohammad
Researcher and consultant
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  • FinnS
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Re: Release of the DIN SPEC 91421 - First and Only Product Standard that Defines the Quality of Recycled Fertilizers made from Human Faeces from Dry Toilets

Dear Mohammad,

I am not aware of any intentions to translate this document to English. However, I have contacted Mr. Everding, who is listed as the contact person and will keep you updated about his response.

Best regards
Finn 
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Re: Release of the DIN SPEC 91421 - First and Only Product Standard that Defines the Quality of Recycled Fertilizers made from Human Faeces from Dry Toilets

Dear Finn
Thank you so much for your reply.
I guess many susan members  may need to this  inavliable standard in English.
It has ISO compliance or not?
thank you
Best regard 
Mohammad.
Researcher and consultant
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  • FinnS
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Re: Release of the DIN SPEC 91421 - First and Only Product Standard that Defines the Quality of Recycled Fertilizers made from Human Faeces from Dry Toilets

Dear Mohammad,

I agree, that a translation to English is much needed and I got a positive answer by Mr. Everding. He wrote that in fact, they have already received further requests for an English version. At the moment a translation is discussed. Additionally, the team is looking for a financing for the translation, and are confident to find partners for this. After translating, the English version will also be available through the Beuth Verlag. If everything works well, an English translation might be published at the earliest in about 4 months, probably later.

As far as I understood, there are two types of DIN Documents: DIN Norm and DIN SPEC, which apply for Germany only.
DIN Norm-documents are developed, when the results require the greatest possible public legitimation. DIN SPEC documents are faster to develop and are usually set up, when the document has to be developed fast/or the broad consensus is not (yet) required or available. A DIN SPEC can be the basis for a DIN standard. All DIN Norm-documents are automatically included in the "Deutsche Normenwerk", a collection of all norms. The DIN SPEC documents are like the small sibling of the DIN-Norm. They are not included in the "Deutsche Normenwerk", but can act as a baseline to develop DIN Norms.
In summary and as far as I understand, this DIN SPEC first has to (be) evolve(d) to a DIN Norm, before it can be developed  into and implemented as an ISO Norm on the international level. 

Best regards
Finn
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Re: Release of the DIN SPEC 91421 - First and Only Product Standard that Defines the Quality of Recycled Fertilizers made from Human Faeces from Dry Toilets

Dear Finn

Thank you for your comprehensive information.

Regards;
Mohammad.
Researcher and consultant
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