Waste water contains several precious substances that can be used as raw materials for valuable products. Cellulose, Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) bioplastics, phosphorus and lipids all have existing or future market opportunities that are not always exploited in North-West Europe. The implementation of smart waste water treatment practices would result in a considerable reduction of CO2 emissions and would trigger, at the same time, the preservation of precious natural resources and the creation of solid business opportunities for the region.
Transnational cooperation is a key enabler for this sector, as there are considerable differences in both need and resources. Linkages between producers of secondary raw material and users across borders need to be established, such as regions without livestock production or the fertilizer industry. At the same time, there is a lack of harmonized practices and regulations across North-West Europe.
Interreg NWE is, therefore, financing three projects that contribute to the transition from traditional treatment to the management of waste water with the aim of re-using valuable materials and informing policies that better support circular economy practices.