Reuse of raw materials, reducing the amount of waste: objectives that everyone supports

Besides the prevention of waste, the recovery of raw materials from waste streams is necessary in order to achieve a circular economy. There is broad political support for this, at regional, national and European level. That is theory. In practice, however, it appears to be quite a challenge.

As a technology developer in (waste)water treatment, CirTec focuses among other things on the recovery of cellulose (used toilet paper) from sewage. This used toilet paper has a variety of applications, like recycled paper.

If you reclaim a renewable resource from sewageand you want to use it (as a pilot or demo) in a valuable way, then the legal status of raw material comes up for discussion. For many applications, the raw material must first be given an “end-of-waste status”. To get this status, a “demonstrated market” is required. To develop this market, a product must initially be made, which is not allowed due to the request of and end-of-waste status. See here the conflict that we face as sustainable entrepreneurs that, despite the need for a circular economy, seems difficult to figure it out.

The remarkable thing is, that while every government has circularity as a spearhead in their policy, and all chain stakeholders involved are  positive and willing to contribute constructively, it is difficult, if not impossible, to find the way in an impenetrable maze of working groups and governmental institutes. I don’t want to plead for not being less careful with the reuse of recovered raw materials. After all, we have to minimize risks to people and the environment. However, I am looking for a roadmap through the maze of regulations and responsibilities.

Within the INTERREG-NWE project WOW! (Wider Opportunities for raw materials from Wastewater) we want to clarify the legal status of raw materials from sewage. The search for unambiguous regulations exists not only in the Netherlands but also in neighbouring countries. We can try to make a roadmap with input from experts in an advisory board, so that in practice raw materials from sewage can also be converted into sustainable raw materials.

If you have expertise in this area, I would like to get in touch with you.

Reuse of raw materials, reducing the amount of waste: objectives that everyone supports

Besides the prevention of waste, the recovery of raw materials from waste streams is necessary in order to achieve a circular economy. There is broad political support for this, at regional, national and European level. That is theory. In practice, however, it appears to be quite a challenge.

As a technology developer in (waste)water treatment, CirTec focuses among other things on the recovery of cellulose (used toilet paper) from sewage. This used toilet paper has a variety of applications, like recycled paper.

If you reclaim a renewable resource from sewageand you want to use it (as a pilot or demo) in a valuable way, then the legal status of raw material comes up for discussion. For many applications, the raw material must first be given an “end-of-waste status”. To get this status, a “demonstrated market” is required. To develop this market, a product must initially be made, which is not allowed due to the request of and end-of-waste status. See here the conflict that we face as sustainable entrepreneurs that, despite the need for a circular economy, seems difficult to figure it out.

The remarkable thing is, that while every government has circularity as a spearhead in their policy, and all chain stakeholders involved are  positive and willing to contribute constructively, it is difficult, if not impossible, to find the way in an impenetrable maze of working groups and governmental institutes. I don’t want to plead for not being less careful with the reuse of recovered raw materials. After all, we have to minimize risks to people and the environment. However, I am looking for a roadmap through the maze of regulations and responsibilities.

Within the INTERREG-NWE project WOW! (Wider Opportunities for raw materials from Wastewater) we want to clarify the legal status of raw materials from sewage. The search for unambiguous regulations exists not only in the Netherlands but also in neighbouring countries. We can try to make a roadmap with input from experts in an advisory board, so that in practice raw materials from sewage can also be converted into sustainable raw materials.

If you have expertise in this area, I would like to get in touch with you.