Innovation That Matters

Wastewater turned into furniture

Fashion & Beauty

Designer Nienke Hoogvliet has partnered with the Dutch Water Authorities to produce a range of homeware that celebrates the use of wastewater.

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Wastewater is not a subject people typically get excited about. But in Holland, designer Nienke Hoogvliet has designed a range of furniture and homeware which showcased at Dutch Design Week.


In Holland, it’s estimated that toilets flush 180,000 tons of toilet paper each year. Hoogvliet has created this range, made from reclaimed toilet paper, as part of a partnership with the Dutch Water Authorities. The brief? Designs that expel negative associations of toilet paper as a waste product. The line is called Waterschatten and includes a large dining table, pendant lights, and set of bowls. Paper collected from wastewater is usually burned. Instead for this project, it was collected using fine sieves and then cleaned. “Using this cellulose again not only means that we need to cut down fewer trees, it makes the process of cleaning the water require less energy as well.” explained Hoogvliet.


The Dutch Water Authorities are experimenting with ways to recover energy and raw materials from wastewater. Wastewater can also be used to produce energy that can be converted into biogas for cars, or electricity for homes. In addition, phosphate, used in fertilizers, can be recovered. The Netherlands has eight sewage treatment plants with capabilities of producing energy. But there are plans for an additional nine factories to be developed with the same capacity.

Springwise has written about some interesting innovations that use waste. This waste treatment plant that powers an eco spa and this Kenyan toilet that collects human waste to use as fuel. How else will we see waste put to good use in the future?



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