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An Eau de Toilet of purified sewer water

Bob Derksen | Design | 2 minute read
In The Netherlands, we flush some 120 litres of waste water down the drain per person per day. What happens next is incredible. It gets purified to such a high degree that the water is ultimately clean enough for making perfume. Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier and Today banded together to prove this and show it off. Today developed an Eau de Toilet on its own initiative. This subsequently won 2 Indigo Awards, 1 Paris Design Award, 1 silver NL Packaging Award and a Penta nomination.


Eau de Toilet is a 100% natural product made from purified sewer water and developed in collaboration with a perfumer. The scent palette comprises riverbank plants including red clover, chamomile and various grasses. This scent is made from concentrated mixes of natural oils and extracts. Once the minerals and microbiological contaminants are removed from sewer water, it becomes suitable for making Eau de Toilet. The packaging and bottle are made from 100%-recycled materials.


An Eau de Toilet made from purified sewer water is an original way of telling the story of the value of the Netherlands’ sewer water. It’s a great way of getting people to think about the journey that sewer water makes. It also shows the steps required to turn something ‘dirty’ into a luxury end product.

Who’s it for?

A holiday gift for all of the Hoogheemraadschap’s 800 employees in 2021. In June 2022, the perfume was presented at the open day in Alkmaar. It shows the value of purified sewer water and makes the employees proud and energised, while also creating awareness of clean water among end users.

The importance of circularity

The Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier wants to be energy neutral by 2025 and fully circular by 2050. They are already making green energy – in the form of biogas and green natural gas from sewer sludge – that they use for their vehicle fleet. They also make biodegradable embankments from used toilet paper. The Hoogheemraadschap also recovers phosphate, which is increasingly scarce, and uses it as a component of fertiliser, so it has several lives.

‘It shows how valuable purified sewer water is. A circular story, from the source to the beautiful, luxury end product.’
Ellen Schipper | Communication Advisor Hoogheemraadschap
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