WEF ReNEW Water Project: Resource Recovery to Fuel and Grow a Circular Economy

The concept of a circular economy has steadily been gaining traction in recent years, especially in the water sector, the idea of which is to reduce the amount of waste produced by creating valuable products out of traditional waste streams. Water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) can directly contribute to a circular economy by producing clean water, nutrients, renewable energy, and other valuable bio-based materials from wastewater. The WEF ReNEW Water Project seeks to create a bold, aspirational, and public call to action to accelerate resource recovery at WRRFs in order to fuel and grow a circular economy in our communities.

ReNEW has two components:

  • Call to Action – Encourage utilities to pursue resource recovery as a way to improve operations, manage risk, and enhance sustainability. WEF seeks to catalyze the recovery of high-value products from wastewater by helping utilities develop business cases for resource recovery and alignment and integration of other related industry efforts
  • Progress and Impact Reports – will be developed on a periodic basis to determine progress towards the US DOE goal, as well as to report on the impact of those utilities creating value from former waste streams. The first Report was the resource recovery baseline released at WEFTEC 2018.

Read a call to action from WEF Executive Director Walt Marlowe: We Must Expand Water’s Role in the Circular Economy




Resource Recovery Baseline

The first-ever analysis of resource recovery by U.S. water utilities shows significant progress in using biosolids and generating energy, but large growth opportunities in water reuse and nutrient capture.

Led by the Water Environment Federation, the ReNEW Water Project utilizes data from national and state databases, publications, and a utility survey, which represents about 25 percent of municipal wastewater flow and about 20 percent of biosolids produced in the U.S.

For more information, please download the full Resource Recovery Baseline Report here

View 2018 baseline press release here.

Accelerating Resource Recovery Tool

Interested to see how your utility's resource recovery practices compare with others of a similar size? Download WEF's Accelerating Resource Recovery Tool (ARRT), developed with Stantec!

Accelerating Resource Recovery Tool (ARRT)

Resource Recovery Roadmaps

Interested in learning more about resource recovery? Please take a look at our roadmaps on nutrients, energy, and water reuse. Primers are available for download below, and full roadmaps are available for purchase at www.accesswater.org.