The Life RECYCLO project is led by TreeWater and 5 partners:
In Europe, water reuse is already a reality in the Mediterranean countries. Nearly 964 million m3 of wastewater per year are reused in the EU, including 350 and 230 million m3 in Spain and Italy. In comparison, the volume reused in Germany and France is only 42 and 7 million m3 per year. About 20% of the reused volume in Europe is used for industrial production (Interreg Europe 2021).
Numerous studies show that the water reuse market will be boosted by the availability of water resources in Europe and their price. Indeed, it is estimated that water shortages will increase in Europe by more than 50% by 2030 (European Commission, 2021).
Therefore, there needs to be a treatment technology ready to meet reuse challenges.
In Europe, there are about 11,000 laundries that clean about 2.7 billion kg of textiles per year. This sector is a big water consumer. In 2008, the water consumption of laundries is estimated at 21L/kg of dry textile washed, or 42 million m3 per year (Hloch et al. 2012), and therefore, as much wastewater is produced. This wastewater usually ends up in public sewage. systems.
The wastewater produced during the washing process is polluted by various pollutants of emerging concerns.
• detergents (especially nonylphenols) added during the washing process
• products extracted from the textiles such as flame retardants (PBDE), waterproofing agents (PFOS), hydrocarbons, waterproofing agents (Phthalates - DEHP), heavy metals
Most of these pollutants have been identified as priority substances to be eliminated from water because they represent real toxicity effects (Directive 2013/39/EU).
Even at low concentrations pollutants of emerging concern directly impact the aquatic environment at various levels. They also affect living organisms and human health. Many of these substances are endocrine disruptors, bio-accumulative in living species, carcinogenic, and mutagenic.
Eliminating these substances before they are released protects our environment and health.
In Europe, the price of water is from 1.4 to 7.0 €/m3 (Oieau, 2017). It is largely dependent on the availability of water resources and the quality of pumped water. This price is a major concern for the laundries sector, which is looking for an efficient solution to reduce its water bills.
At the same time, the laundry market is expected to grow at a rate of 2.3% per year (CAGR 2023), thus increasing the sector's water consumption.