August 05, 2019

Rethinking Waste Streams as Valuable Resources for Reuse

Alicia A. Taylor, Arvind Murali Mohan, and Joy McGrath

Waste streams from various sources, such as wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and extraction processes that generate produced water are becoming increasingly viable sources of new materials. For example, potential resources that can be recovered from WWTPs include water for irrigation, biogas for energy, and solids for fertilizer (Mehta et al. 2015; Scott 2017; UN News 2017). As waste streams are recovered or repurposed, treating waste for these new uses will require advanced treatment methods. Additionally, new manufacturing processes and types of waste streams may require optimizing technologies not historically or commonly used to treat waste. The changing needs of engineered systems is crucial for meeting the demand of recovering resources. Recovery of these resources from water, gas, and sludge is possible with combinations of existing technologies (Guest et al. 2009); however, these techniques are not yet widely used. 

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