Softening lime as a raw material for cosmetics

We can finally tell the world! Softening lime from drinking water production is being used as a key ingredient in cosmetics. As of today, the ‘Circular Face Scrub’ is available in shops under the Naïf brand. This is a particularly proud moment for us. We have shown that a by-product of drinking water production meets the especially high quality requirements of the cosmetics industry.

Drinking water lime, which is chemically referred to as calcite (CaCO3), is generated during the drinking water softening process in the form of calcite pellets. Over the last few years, the water utilities have taken steps to modify this softening process with the aim of making this by-product even purer. Not for purpose of making the drinking water better or cheaper – it already had these features after all – but to open up higher-value applications for the calcite residual. And it has worked! In ‘The Calcite Factory’ in Amsterdam the calcite pellets are dried, ground, sieved and hygienised, and thereby made to the specifications of a wide variety of buyers. We have succeeded, together with Waternet, Naïf and The Calcite Factory, in producing a raw material that meets the strict requirements of the cosmetics industry.

We are proud both because – after all the efforts over the last few years to deliver a high-quality product – we are now capable of supplying the cosmetics industry, but also because we are making an important contribution to the application of sustainable and circular resources. Today, the cosmetics industry mostly makes use of microplastics in its scrubs. These microplastics are not, or are hardly, degraded in our wastewater treatment processes, and thus end up directly in the environment, where they represent a threat to food but also drinking water production. We therefore don’t think it desirable that these microplastics end up in the environment. Naïf, which has long banned these hazardous substances, has worked with us on exploring the possibilities of making use of residuals from the drinking water sector. And what a story this became: a material that is extracted from water during water treatment, is incorporated into a cosmetic and then, following its use, is returned to the water, without all the harmful side effects!

You can order the Circular Face Scrub here.