Reverse osmosis (RO) spiral wound membrane generation reached 93.5% in 2020, resulting in 14,000 tons of used RO membranes being discarded annually into landfills, which is unprecedented. The current study aims to chemically convert the end-of-life RO membrane, followed by its performance evaluation and microbial removal efficiency on three different sources of water, i.e., tap water (TW), integrated constructed wetland permeate (ICW-P), and membrane bio-rector permeate (MBR-P), respectively. This was accomplished by selecting 6 years of spent Filmtech (LC-LE-4040) thin film composite type brackish water reverse osmosis (BWRO) membrane, followed by alkaline and acidic cleaning for 2 h. Finally, the conversion was carried out by 6% sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) with 300,000 ppm/h exposure by active system (AS) using the clean in place CIP pump at 2 bars for 10 h duration. The membrane demonstrated 67% water recovery and 1% saltwater rejection, which means RO membrane now converted into recycled RO (R-RO) or (UF) by removal of the polyamide (PA) layer. Water recovery was 67% for TW, 68% for ICW-P, and 74% for MBR-P, respectively, with the consistent saltwater rejection rate of 1% being observed, while R-RO exhibited an effective COD removal of 65.79%, 62.96%, and 67.72% in TW, ICW-P, and MBR-P, respectively. The highest turbidity removal of 96% in the ICW-P was also recorded for R-RO. For morphological properties, SEM analysis of the R-RO membrane revealed a likewise appearance as a UF membrane, while pore size is also comparable with the UF membrane. The most probable number (MPN) also showed complete removal of total coliforms after passing through the R-RO membrane. These features made the R-RO membrane an excellent choice for drinking water treatment and wastewater treatment polishing steps. This solution can help developing nations to be efficient in resource recovery and contribute to the circular economy.

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