Vitens: Circularity in drinking water production

A circular strategy for the largest drinking water company in the Netherlands.

Metabolic analysed the material flows and current waste valorization strategies of Spannenburg, Vitens’ biggest production facility, to identify opportunities for circularity. The results have led to greater resource efficiency, identification of circular partnerships, and integration of new design principles.

  • Client: Vitens
  • Date: January 2019
The challenge

Every day Vitens’ Spannenburg facility pumps millions of litres of water to over 300,000 people and companies across the province of Friesland in the Netherlands. To make the water suitable to drink, energy needs to be expended and significant quantities of impurities need to be filtered out – waste streams that could be put to use in neighboring businesses. Vitens brought in Metabolic to help them identify opportunities for circularity through industrial symbiosis. 

The challenge
Our approach

Metabolic conducted a material flow analysis of the plant, evaluated the company’s current waste valorization strategies, and devized new valorization options for them. We also looked at opportunities for industrial symbiosis with local partners, organizing a workshop where we connected Vitens to potential circular collaborators.

Our approach
The outcome

Our work helped Vitens in multiple ways. First of all, the material flow analysis addressed potential for efficiency improvements which can save the company significant amounts of money. Secondly, it helped Vitens in thinking more strategically about truly circular partnerships. Thirdly, it encouraged Vitens in incorporating this integrated thinking into the design of a new plant.

The outcome

“Our job is to produce and distribute drinking water to our almost 6 million customers and local industries, which means also to protect our natural sources to do so. By using our by-products locally for a more sustainable environment and by interacting with local stakeholders, we as Vitens could add value locally.”

Lead Circular Industries


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