Resolving Circular Economy Issues Requires a Holistic Perspective

CEWP has published a white paper on circular economy of municipal wastewater treatment. The white paper looks into how innovations have taken place in this market segment in Europe and what the opportunities will be in the future. The report will serve as a basis for discussion at CEWP business events about circular economy and urban water.

There are currently several projects in European wastewater treatment that seek to develop the circular economy through holistic ecosystem thinking and cooperation, which is also the starting point for the circular economy in the big picture. Energy recovery is increasingly taking place through biogas or heat recovery, which is important for climate change. In addition, as primary sources become scarcer, resource utilization from wastewater has become an increasingly profitable option. Currently, nutrients, metals, carbon dioxide, alginate, proteins and cellulose can be recovered from wastewater for industry.

The main inference of the white paper is a holistic perspective and the use of data in decision-making. Issues such as circular economy cannot be solved by one single actor or sector. Sector integration is needed, where wastewater infrastructure is taken into account, for example, in regional energy network and stormwater management solutions. A holistic view includes, for example, how wastewater can also be a source of heat, energy and raw materials for cities.