The Pura Production Group is clearly commited to sustainable production and follows up on this commitment by achieving the maximum attainable sustainability factor with its cleaning products. Pura's flagship Blue Right line for hotels and offices is a circular economy front runner: the floor, interior, sanitary and kitchen cleaners are produced without hazardous chemicals, sold in portion-controlled compostable packaging and lead to zero waste after use.
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When 68 Dutch architectural firms signed a manifesto for circular construction in 2018, it became apparent that this field is committed and eager to apply circular economy principles in designing and building for sustainable development. Nonetheless there are few available resources on commencing such a process, which is why the BNA (Dutch Association of Architects) commissioned a study on 'Designing Circularity Jointly: Circular Architecture and Construction' in 2018.
The transition to a circular economy is a quest where nobody has the correct and precise information on what inputs are required to reduce carbon emissions, ensure raw materials are processed in a circular loop and the built environment is repurposed at end of life. Designing truly circular buildings requires frameworks and insights. These are summarised in the report's eight key messages:
- circular economy is a shared quest full of complexity, obstacles and uncertainty, which is why openness, trust and courage are crucial;
- architects need more circular assignments to be able to benchmark and share experiences with each other;
- architects should play a greater role in designing buildings that can actually be built, maintained and recycled;
- collaboration across the entire value chain is necessary to map out resource flows and design in a truly circular fashion;
- regulation stimulates either renovation or newbuilds, becoming an obstacle when architects attempt to fuse old structures with new materials, linear raw materials with circular processes, and outdated standards with pioneering ones;
- despite a lot of information being available, architects find it difficult to access sustainable materials that have passed the necessary quality checks;
- the lack of clear guidelines about what is circular in the construction sector limits the adoption of corresponding principles;
- there are no easily accessible and understandable tools to guide practitioners in designing a circular structure.
Van Hulley is a Dutch SME that upcycles worn-out shirts into boxershorts, employing disadvantaged women as seamstresses every year and training them to join the labour market more permanently.
This short term assignment for Circular Flanders aims to provide an inventory of indicators that are relevant to monitor the transition to a circular economy and to measure the effects of new policy and trends. The inventory of indicators is based on scoreboards and monitoring frameworks developed by the EU and reports by JRC and EEA. This list is supplemented with indicators known by the authors and a literature search, representing a first step towards the development of a circular economy index.
The scope of indicators varies largely, e.g. material flow indicators can focus on global figures, but also on a specific substance content in a component. In this study we distinguish between macro, meso and micro level indicators. An extensive list of indicators discussed in literature and related to the circular economy is developed, of which a selection is discussed more in detail in fact sheets. The fact sheets report different aspects of the indicator: definition and scope, data availability, level of detail, future developments, links to circular economy and the availability of a benchmark (policy targets, …). Indicators related to the circular economy can be classified according to different criteria.
To have a visual overview of some important characteristics of the indicators assessed in this study, they are classified on 3 axes that represent different criteria:
- Micro, meso, macro level
- CE strategies
- Technology versus socio institutional
The study shows that lack of data (from macro to micro) and time and effort constraints (from micro to macro) are key barriers to link indicators on a macro/meso level on the one hand with indicators on a micro level on the other hand. Another observation is that existing indicators focus primarily on physical parameters, like kilograms, that are more technology-related. Indicators focusing on socio-institutional aspects are less well-defined and less frequently included in monitoring frameworks. The same applies for high-level circularity strategies. Very few indicators capture the effect of strategies that relate to smarter product use & manufacture and extending the life span of products. A transition to a circular economy may not be looked at from a material perspective only, but should include also other environmental impacts such as climate change. Indicators monitoring environmental impacts exist already and can easily be combined and integrated in a set of indicators for monitoring the circular economy.
With respect to future monitoring of developments of circularity indicators, several initiatives are ongoing on a European level to define a set of indicators that are useful for monitoring the circular economy, based on existing indicators. In parallel, researchers are working on the definition and methodology development of additional indicators that focus on aspects particular to the circular economy that are not yet captured by existing indicators, like reuse and remanufacturing strategies.
The Dutch Government has outlined its plans for the transition to a circular economy in the government-wide circular economy policy programme, entitled ‘A circular economy in the Netherlands by 2050’. A monitoring system is required to determine whether this transition is progressing as planned, a proposal for which is made in this report. This monitoring system will document ‘what we want to know, and what we can already measure’ (the latter being the baseline assessment).
In the monitoring system, a distinction is made between the desired effects and the transition process that needs to take place to bring about these effects. The most important desired effect of the transition to a circular economy is a reduced consumption of natural resources. This will result in fewer environmental effects (e.g. due to greenhouse gas emissions) and reduce our dependence on natural resource imports, and therefore increase resources supply security. Reducing natural resource consumption requires circularity strategies, for example by extending the lifetime of products and product components, such as for smartphones, or through encouraging the sharing of certain products, such as cars. This will call for efforts to ensure that such circularity strategies are adopted, for example by encouraging cooperation between product chain partners, removing regulatory barriers and designing circular products. This is a complex and, initially, slow process. Furthermore, it will take a while before the effects can be seen. Monitoring of both the transition process and its effects, therefore, is relevant.
In this report, we propose indicators for monitoring both the transition process and the effects achieved. We are already able to monitor the effects to some extent, in particular the effects of natural resource consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and waste and waste treatment. These effects are being monitored for the Netherlands as a whole and for the five priority themes of the government-wide programme: biomass and food, plastics, manufacturing, construction, and consumer goods. Transition teams have been appointed for each priority theme and have each drawn up a transition agenda (published at the same time as this report).
Not all the indicators proposed in the monitoring system can currently be measured; this applies in particular to those relating to the transition process. The monitoring system described in this report should therefore be regarded as a growth model. The aim is to develop the monitoring system further in the coming years, together with other knowledge institutes and partners involved in the five transition agendas.
The workbook 'Organising for the Circular Economy - A Workbook for Developing Circular Business Models' supports companies and other organisations that aim to become circular by providing a unique model that highlights the various building blocks of circular business models.
A concrete step-by-step approach allows organisations to work on the development of their own circular business model. To clarify and inspire, a set of infographics displaying the cycles of 30 front-runner organisations from the Netherlands, which already actively incorporate circularity in their business operations, is provided alongside the workbook.
The workbook and infographics can be downloaded free of charge from this website.
The municipality of Almere aspires to become a waste-free and energy-neutral city by 2022. The administration wants to bring the business community and knowledge institutes’ innovative power together to enable co-creation in the field of waste management and upcycling in the urban context.
Buyers have committed themselves to successfully completing two circular purchasing projects between June 2017 and June 2019. In practice they will choose 1 or more goals that will guide them towards circular products & services.
These goals are:
- Reduce total amount of materials
- Reduce non-renewable virgin input
- Extend the use/lifetime of products
-Optimize the potential Reuse of products&components
-Optimize the potential Recycling of products& materials
As a part of the circular economy, Eco-design is a way for enterprises to reduce the impacts of their products or services at each step of their life cycle.
Since 2012, UCM help SMEs to integrate this approach in order to make their business less impacting, but also compatible with the evolution of the reglementation, cost-effective and connected to the new customers markets.
You want to improve your life cycle management? Take opportunities in the Circular economy? Or even change your business model? Don’t hesitate to make your first step with us. We propose short and mid-term supports, customs tools and seminars, and grant research for circular projects.
Together with a number of partner organisations, Circular Flanders and the Government of the Region of Flanders launched the Green Deal for Circular Procurement (GDCP) on 8 June 2017. Some 130 companies, local authorities and non-profit organisations took part in this landmark event. The idea is based on the Dutch 'Green Deal', which has been translated into the Flemish context. The Green Deal has its origin in the policy memorandum and letter Environment. Purchasers are still reluctant in changing their proceedings to allow reuse of -or recycled content in- products and in accepting new 'circular' contracts. With the GDCP Circular Flanders wants to take away the uncertainty and help buyers to change their procurement proceedings. In return the purchasers share their experiences in a learning network and the participants all set up 2 pilots. In the end they will become ambassadors who can inform other purchasers on the financial, social and ecological advantages of CE. Over 200 experiments will prove the success of Circular Procurement.
The FISSAC project involves stakeholders at all levels of the construction and demolition value chain to develop a methodology and software platform, to facilitate information exchange, that can support industrial symbiosis networks and replicate pilot schemes at local and regional levels.
An incubator for circular entrepreneurs in and around Rotterdam, BlueCity creates a much needed tangible and inspiring example for the circular economy, closing the loops and building the city and the economy of the future. Set in a deserted swimming pool, this dynamic community of entrepreneurs, researchers, neighbours, government and education representatives serves as a breeding ground for 25+ innovative, circular companies linking their waste-streams.
Attero introduces a new high quality product that is used as ingredient for substrates and potting soils: biobased substrate compost. The process for achieving this quality is unique in the world of compost production.
Circular Flanders is the hub and the inspiration for the Flemish circular economy. It is a partnership of governments, companies, civil society, and the knowledge community that will take action together. These organisations are the core of our partnership. Each one has committed to carrying out a specific action.
Brussels Capital region Circular Economy strategy, adopted in 2016, sets a 10 year framework to move Brussels' economy towards a circular model.
The strategy is focused on three objectives: transform environmental goals into economic opportunities, anchor the Brussels economy, where possible, to local produce and to minimise transportation whilst optimising the use of available territory in order to create additional value for the people of Brussels and to contribute to the creation of employment. It is structured in 4 different axes (combining 111 actions):
- Transversal ( regulatory framework);
- sectorial (specific industries);
- territorial and
- governance (to bring together 3 ministerial department)
24 Kton annualy will be converted into LDPE re-granulate in the new recycling factory Attero is building in Wijster. Contaminated film is cleaned and turned into a high quality and odorless re-granulate.
At-home recycling of bioplastics - and all domestic food waste - thanks to the seriously HOT composting bin
The HOTBIN is an innovative hot compost bin that super heats your food and garden waste to 60°c. It can suit not only individual needs, but also the needs of sport clubs, canteens or schools, mixing food waste with biodegradable plastics.
The city of Almere, working together with local stakeholders and the company Millvision, has developed an innovative circular economy partnership. Mowed plants from the local lake instead of just being disposed of, are now being integrated by Millvision, a paper company, in to biomass blends used to produce sustainable paper. The aquatic plant is a local and renewable input to the production of the paper but it also "circular" as something that would be discarded as waste is re-valued as a raw material used in production.
Port of Rotterdam: cyclists can enjoy a like-new bike lane, thanks to a bio-based ‘rejuvenator’ for recycled asphalt
The Port of Rotterdam Authority and the Municipality of Rotterdam in partnership with KWS Infra and Arizona Chemical to deploy recycled asphalt. The processing of rejuvenation utilizes a "rejuvenator" using raw material extracted from pine tree by-products.
GreenLab (previously BSE Academy) has been created to develop environmental markets in the Brussels-Capital Region and create jobs of all kinds.
The functional economy in the chemical industry: 8 case studies demonstrate efficiency and sustainability
Take Back Chemicals is innovating by proposing a 'functional economy' business model in the use of chemicals. Traditional business models are based on sales per volume, whereas TBC uses "chemical leasing" and regeneration process for greater efficiency and sustainability.
The report is based on the study of 3 cases in Belgium and 5 cases in the Netherlands with leading chemical industries.