The PAE Building, a 5-story class-A office building, designed to meet the Living Building Challenge,

Building Waste Repurposed to Create Sustainable Fertilizer

May 21, 2024
NRS’s groundbreaking products are a significant step towards creating a robust circular economy.

PORTLAND, OR — Nutrient Recovery Services (NRS), a small minority-owned Oregon manufacturer, has achieved a remarkable milestone in sustainable agriculture with the production of the first-of-its-kind fertilizer. Operating inside the PAE Building in downtown Portland, Oregon, NRS creates a sustainable fertilizer from the building’s waste, rainwater, and solar energy. 

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

Nutrient Capture

The PAE Building, a 5-story class-A office building, is designed to meet the Living Building Challenge, the most stringent building rating system in the world. Nutrient Recovery Services operates a unique process that captures critical nutrients needed to grow food and fiber in our communities. What makes this process truly exceptional is its sole reliance on renewable resources, with the manufacturing process powered by 100% solar energy and harvested rainwater, making it one of the most sustainable agricultural products available on the market.

Through this pioneering process, Nutrient Recovery Services recovers 98% of nutrients from high-strength waste (urine) creating products free of impurities, such as pharmaceuticals. NRS produces a ultra clean liquid nitrogen rich fertilizer and a powdered phosphorus rich fertilizer. 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. While all plants need nitrogen to grow and thrive, some plants need more nitrogen than others. Fruiting plants such as cucumbers, tomatoes and zucchini or root plants like beets and carrots will thrive with a nitrogen boost during their vegetative growth period, earlier in the season. Adding the powder fertilizer once flowering and fruiting begins will also increase their yield.  

Repairing the Way We Produce 

"Our vision at Nutrient Recovery Services is to develop ways every community can help shift toward a more resilient agriculture system," says Pete Munoz, Co-founder of NRS. "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 and at stores in the region. 

Nutrient Recovery Services (NRS) is a collective of engineers, scientists, designers, and partner organizations dedicated to radical changes needed throughout our agriculture systems.

The Living Building Challenge is a philosophy, advocacy tool, and certification program using the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment. It addresses all buildings at all scales. To learn more visit

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