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No waste left behind with circular economy

08 Jun 2018

Hunter Water is exploring circular economy opportunities and ways to consider recycled water, energy generation and nutrient recovery as a business-as-usual approach.

A circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life.

A recent workshop, which included representatives from our partner Lake Macquarie City Council and research leaders from the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures, focused on a presentation of business as usual material pathways for water, energy and waste systems as well as exploring potential circular economy opportunities. Some of the more innovative opportunities identified included:

· Micro-grids for water and energy that let households trade resources locally

· Generating our own energy from floating solar on Grahamstown Dam

· Generating renewable energy from our biosolids (a by-product of the wastewater treatment process)

· Recovering nutrients such as phosphorus from our wastewater treatment plants

· Atmospheric water generators that produce drinking water at a households scale

Further workshops will develop circular economy future scenarios and how these will affect high-level material flows in water and wastewater services, energy inputs and outputs, food waste systems, and the potential to optimise our system’s resource efficiency.
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