European Commission - EU-funded project AFTERLIFE is developing a technology that filters, treats and converts waste water from the food and drink industry into bioplastics and food additives.

The food and drink industry is the third most water-thirsty industrial manufacturing sector in Europe. It uses around 4.9 m3 of water per inhabitant per year and generates around 3 700 million m3 of waste water annually. This waste water contains organic molecules and other potentially harmful particles that could pollute the environment.

However, there is an alternative. Waste water from the industry contains valuable molecules that could also be extracted and given a second life, turning the water into a resource and helping to integrate the food and drink industry into the emerging circular economy.

EU-funded project AFTERLIFE is developing innovative technology that will filter and extract valuable elements from the waste water and convert them into bioplastics and food additives, as well as purifying the water.

AFTERLIFE means a significant improvement to even the best waste-water-treatment technologies available today. We are developing a flexible, cost and resource-efficient process to completely recover suspended and soluble matter – and value – from waste water,” says former project coordinator Paolo Stufano of the Eggplant company in Italy.