Project CelluCycle: toilet paper becomes plastic bag or flower pot

Savings on raw materials and CO2 emissions


Wastewater is no longer seen as a stream from where you want quickly. More and more we are able to draw energy and raw materials out of it. CelluCycle the project focuses on the toilet flushed, which biodegradable plastic can be made​​. 

Waterboard Hollands Noorderkwartier, BWA and Attero will investigate the effects on downstream treatment processes, screening toilet paper from raw waste water. They will also examine how the cellulose fibers in the toiletpaper can be converted into Poly Lactic Acid (polylactic acid, PLA). PLA is a biodegradable material that can be used as a bioplastic for all kinds of products. Possible applications include bags, plant pots and print wire for 3D printers.

In the Netherlands, almost all domestic wastewater discharged through sewer systems to a watsewater treatment plant (WWTP). With this wastewater, suspended solids, mainly consisting of toilet paper, enters the WWTP. By using rotating belt finescreens, an important part of the solids from can be removed the waste water, with the advantage that the WWTP can be built significantly smaller or expansion can be prevented. The screened material called screenings, a new stream at the WWTP, contains a high percentage of cellulose fibers, a very suitable raw material for re-use in for example bio-plastic.

Sustainable reuse of toilet paper in the form of bioplastics, results in a decrease of waste and reduces the use of raw materials from natural sources, such as trees and corn. The amount of toilet paper in Dutch domestic wastewater is so big, that the number of plastic bags that can be produced yearly from it, is similar to what is used in the Netherlands in four years.
The effect of finescreens on downstream processes of the treatmentplant are also studied in this project. Since the wastewater is less contaminated, purification will require less energy resulting in saving on CO2 emissions.

Waterboard Hollands Noorderkwartier
Manages and controls water, is responsible for water quality and maintains roads in the area above the Northsea channel (Northwest Netherlands). The upgrading of screenings to PLA fits perfectly with the efforts of the Dutch waterboards to preserve the wastewater chain and thus realize their ambitions related to improvement of our environment and climate In addition to ecological value, the improvement of the treatment process with finescreens will also lead to significant cost savings. For a medium size WWTP, those savings will be in the order of € 175.000, – per year. Sustainability helps further the social positioning of the water boards: innovative, sustainable and rooted in society. Waterboard Hollands Noorderkwartier considers to install BWA’s finescreentechnology as the first purification step on a large scale domestic wastewater treatment plant (170.000 P.E).

With both proven and innovative technology offers BWA appropriate solutions for a wide range of environmental issues . Waste recycling and beneficial use of low-grade energy are central .
Since 2009 the company has put considerable effort into optimizing purification processes through the use of fine screens . In that period BWA been involved in many research projects into the use of fine screening technology and enhancement of screenings . Successful upgrading of screenings can give a boost to the use of fine screens and use other applications to accelerate .

Attero is one of the market leaders in the Netherlands when it comes to the treatment of household waste. The starting point is the recovery of raw materials from  waste and the production of renewable energy. As an innovative company Attero wants to expand its activities by processing organic streams into high-quality raw materials. This involves, among other things, the processing and upgrading of streams as screenings and other fibers coming from processing ofother waste streams. Attero has gained extensive experience in the production of bio-plastics from a self-developed two-stage fermentation process in Venlo .

You can follow the progress of the project on



Contact for this press release :

Attero BV
Contact: Mr. Leon Dirrix spokesman
Phone : +31 (0)6 22 69 32 41
Email :

Contact: Ms Marit van Veen
Telephone: +31 (0)299-476 303
Email :

Waterboard Hollands Noorderkwartier
Contact: Mr. Bob de Boer
Phone : +31 (0)72-582 7246
Email :

Posted in Project, Partners, Subsidy