SAGA (Kyodo) An agricultural cooperative in Saga Prefecture has come up with a new way to produce cheap organic fertilizers: dismantling old fire extinguishers and reusing their contents.

“It’s possible to lower the price of fertilizer by 5 percent. This is utilization of waste,” said an official at JA Saga, adding the group is thinking of selling the product this fall.

Fire-extinguisher materials often include ammonium phosphate, which is used in organic fertilizers.

Particles of the chemical, however, are coated with resin and are insoluble in water, making it difficult to turn them into fertilizer.

JA Saga has developed new technologies to easily remove the resin and is seeking a patent.

JA Saga plans to collect 100,000 expired fire extinguishers a year to produce fertilizers for growing “mikan” mandarin oranges at a time when prices of conventional fertilizers have spiked with the expansion of food production worldwide.

“It would be impossible to collect (100,000) units just in Saga Prefecture. We’d like equipment makers in Kyushu and nationwide to cooperate,” the JA Saga official said.

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