Three designers showcase versatility of a raw material derived from wastewater in their projects

Three Dutch designers have utilised a raw material made from wastewater in their creative applications – including a dye for textiles, a ceramic glaze, and a glue.

The designers were commissioned by Energy and Resources Factory, who developed the raw material derived from wastewater known as Kaumera, to show Kaumera’s versatility.

Kaumera Nereda Gum is extracted from sludge granules from a water purification process known as Nereda. This innovative process makes cleaning water more sustainable, using bacteria to form a biopolymer that can be reclaimed. This biopolymer is Kaumera.

By combining this biopolymer with other raw materials, the character of the substance changes. Kaumera is an amplifier and connector of properties. Kaumera can retain water but can also repel. This makes various applications possible in, for example, agriculture, horticulture and the concrete industry.

To showcase the infinite possibilities with Kaumera, Energy and Resources Factory asked 3 Dutch designers – Nienke Hoogvliet, Billie van Katwijk and Jeroen Wand – to experiment with this new raw material.

Nienke Hoogvliet used this byproduct from the wastewater treatment process to create a dyed pattern on a kimono. She searched for a way to use Kaumera to contribute to reducing the damage of the textile industry on the environment, as well as tackling the concept of fast fashion.

Nienke Hoogvliet found that Kaumera makes textile absorb dyes better, so less water is needed and therefore, less water is polluted. To add colour to the textiles, she used two natural dyes extracted from wastewater: Anammox and Vivianite.

Designer Van Katwijk developed a ceramic glaze using Kaumera. She paid homage to the classic funnel beaker, combing “the ancient mud shape with the latest scientific insights”. While Jeroen Wand used the material as it is, as a glue highlighting Kaumera aesthetic properties.

Energy and Resources Factory is an initiative of all Dutch water authorities aimed at developing raw materials from the byproducts of wastewater treatment.

Energy and Resources Factory

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at

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