New insights into the anaerobic degradation of very different categories of compounds, and into process and reactor technology will lead to very promising new generations of anaerobic treatment system, such as ‘Expanded Granular Sludge Bed’ (EGSB) and ‘Staged Multi-Phase Anaerobic’ (MPSA) reactor systems. These concepts will provide a higher efficiency at higher loading rates, are applicable for extreme environmental conditions (e.g. low and high temperatures) and to inhibitory compounds. Moreover, by integrating the anaerobic process with other biological methods (sulphate reduction, micro-aerophilic organisms) and with physical-chemical methods, a complete treatment of the wastewater can be accomplished at very low costs, while at the same time valuable components can be recovered for reuse.