Opportunities
for a circular economy

A circular economy is focused on the optimal use and reuse of resources in the various links along production chains; from the extraction of raw resources all the way to consumption. Resources are at risk of becoming scarce due to a growing global population and rising prosperity levels. This is why it is ever more important that the available resources are used as efficiently as possible. There are also new opportunities — new markets, more collaboration, and a reduced use of resources.

The transition towards a circular economy, according to the European Commission, is: ‘the opportunity to transform our economy and to generate new and sustainable competitor advantages for Europe’.

Opportunities for the Netherlands

The transition towards a circular economy offers economic opportunities for the Netherlands, can make the country less dependent on imported, scarce raw materials and other resources, and will contribute to a cleaner environment.

What would be the benefits of a circular economy for the Netherlands?

What would be the benefits of a circular economy for the Netherlands? Advantages for the Netherlands in the fields of economy, environment and security of supply: over 5000 jobs, EUR 7 billion for the Dutch economy, 10% decrease in CO2 emissions, 20% less water use in industry, and 25% reduction in imported primary resources. decrease inCO 2 emissions p b l . n l Economicbenefits Cleanerenvironment Security ofsupply ofresources 10% 7 billioneuros for the Dutch economy Saving20%water inindustry 25%less import of primaryresources Over50 thousandjobs Source: TNO, adaptation by PBL
What would be the benefits of a circular economy for the Netherlands? Advantages for the Netherlands in the fields of economy, environment and security of supply: over 5000 jobs, EUR 7 billion for the Dutch economy, 10% decrease in CO2 emissions, 20% less water use in industry, and 25% reduction in imported primary resources. 7 billioneuros for the Dutch economy Over50 thousandjobs 25%less import of primaryresources Source: TNO, adaptation by PBL decrease inCO 2 emissions 10% Saving20%water in industry Economic benefits Cleaner environment Security of supply of resources pbl.nl

Realising these opportunities is no easy feat. Investments and new alliances between companies will be required, and the traditional, already established companies will likely slow the transition down. Government policy will often be needed to overcome barriers and to change the perception of the importance of natural resources.

What is a circular economy?

In contrast to what happens in a linear economy, a circular economy makes optimal use of raw materials and resources. This means that these materials and resources continue to be applied in a way that generates the highest economic value and the least environmental damage.

From a linear to a circular economy

Cycles of a linear economy A linear economy operates on a ‘take-make-dispose’ model, making unbounded use of resources to produce products that will be discarded after use. Linear Use Disposal andincineration Resources Renewable resources Non-renewableresources pbl.nl

A linear economy operates on a ‘take-make-dispose’ model, making unbounded use of resources to produce products that will be discarded after use.

Cycles of a circular economy A circular economy, in contrast, centres around the reuse of products and raw materials, and the prevention of waste and harmful emissions to soils, water and air, wherever possible (‘closed loop’). Circular Resources Disposal andincineration Use Renewable resources Non-renewableresources pbl.nl

A circular economy, in contrast, centres around the reuse of products and raw materials, and the prevention of waste and harmful emissions to soils, water and air, wherever possible (‘closing the loop’).

The conversion of a linear economy into one that is circular involves systems changes, or transition. Other designs or processes (e.g. 3D printing), products that can be repaired or regenerated, recycling of materials and another way of thinking about products (e.g. sharing them), are all aspects of such a change.

The rule of thumb for determining the highest value reuse of resources within the cycle is to prioritise strategies according to the ‘Rs’ (Rethink, Redesign, Reuse, Repair, Remanufacturing, Recycling, Recover). However, there will always be exceptions.

A circular economy is about more than recycling

A circular economy is about more than recycling The conversion of a linear economy into one that is circular involves systems changes, or transition. Other designs or processes (e.g. 3D printing), products that can be repaired or regenerated, recycling of materials and another way of thinking about products (e.g. sharing them), are all aspects of such a change. 3. Product reuse. 6. Recover energy from materials. 7. Waste disposal and incineration without energy recovery is avoided where possible. 4. Product repair, maintenance and revision. 1. Using resources more efficiently by changing the way we think about products and production processes. Is the product the best way to meet the demand? Could we use fewer or different resources in its production? 2. Design differently; for example, by considering reuse, repair and recycling options in advance of production. Use 1. Rethink and reduce 2. Redesign 3. Reuse 4. Repair andremanufacturing 5. Recycling 7. Disposal 6. Recover 5. Processing and reuse of materials. p b l . n l
A circular economy is about more than recycling The conversion of a linear economy into one that is circular involves systems changes, or transition. Other designs or processes (e.g. 3D printing), products that can be repaired or regenerated, recycling of materials and another way of thinking about products (e.g. sharing them), are all aspects of such a change. 3. Product reuse. 5. Processing and reuse of materials. 6. Recover energy from materials. 7. Waste disposal and incineration without energy recovery is avoided where possible. 4. Product repair, maintenance and revision. 1. Using resources more efficiently by changing the way we think about products and production processes. Is the product the best way to meet the demand? Could we use fewer or different resources in its production? 2. Design differently; for example, by considering reuse, repair and recycling options in advance of production. Use 1 2 3 4 5 7 6 p b l . n l

Elements of a circular economy

Elements of a circular economy Visualisation of the essential elements of a circular economy (high quality reuse and recycling, renewable energy, natural capital, new revenue models, product design, chain collaboration). R e c y c l i n g U s e P r o d u c t i o n R e s o u r c e s R e c y c l i n g D i s p o s a l a n d i n c i n e r a t i o n R e u s e High-value reuse and recycling Longer product lifespan, longer use of product parts, and recycling of materials. Renewableenergy Transition towards renewable energy instead of fossil energy. Natural capital Use of non-toxic substances and no depletion of natural resources. Product design Taking reuse, repair, the use of modular parts, and a different production process into account. Supply chain collaboration New alliances between companies in new and established production chains. New revenue models Paying for use instead of ownership, producer remains the product’s owner. p b l . n l
Elements of a circular economy Visualisation of the essential elements of a circular economy (high quality reuse and recycling, renewable energy, natural capital, new revenue models, product design, chain collaboration). U s e P r o d u c t i o n R e s o u r c e s D i s p o s a l a n d i n c i n e r a t i o n High-value reuse and recycling Longer product lifespan, longer use of product parts, and recycling of materials. Renewable energy Transition towards renewable energy instead of fossil energy. Natural capital Use of non-toxic substances and no depletion of natural resources. Product design Taking reuse, repair, the use of modular parts, and a different production process into account. Supply chain collaboration New alliances between companies in new and established production chains. New revenue models Paying for use instead of ownership, producer remains the product’s owner. p b l . n l

The Dutch situation

From a European perspective, the Netherlands resembles a densely populated city with excellent infrastructure, major ports and logistics. This presents the right conditions for a circular economy, and means that sharing certain products (e.g. cars) is easier and utilising industrial waste flows less complicated.

The Netherlands has a good starting position

EU NL The Netherlands has a good starting position From a European perspective, the Netherlands resembles a densely populated city with excellent infrastructure, major ports and logistics. This presents the right conditions for a circular economy, and means that sharing certain products (e.g. cars) is easier and utilising industrial waste flows less complicated. The Netherlands began taking measures, early on, to reduce waste disposal. This is partly the reason why it has one of the highest recycling percentages of Europe. There is a large amount of knowledge on waste separation technologies and the logistical system of waste collection and recycling. Dutch experience and knowledge can be applied, both nationally and internationally, in further circular-economy development. Moreover, many raw materials are transported via the Netherlands, which makes this country a suitable pivot point (resource roundabout). Populationdensity (inhabitants per km 2 ) (km/tonne per km 2 ) Density ofinfrastructure (km 2 per km 2 ) Density ofbuilt-up area (tonne per km 2 ) Density of resource flows (%) Recyclinghouseholdwaste (%) (number per inhabitant) Waste collectionand recyclingpatents pbl.nl EU28 Belgium High Low zero Luxembourg Germany Finland Luxembourg Austria Austria Netherlands Belgium Belgium Belgium Luxembourg Belgium Source: Eurostat; OECD; adaptation by PBL Netherlands EU28 Other EU28 countries (excl. Malta)
EU NL The Netherlands has a good starting position From a European perspective, the Netherlands resembles a densely populated city with excellent infrastructure, major ports and logistics. This presents the right conditions for a circular economy, and means that sharing certain products (e.g. cars) is easier and utilising industrial waste flows less complicated. The Netherlands began taking measures, early on, to reduce waste disposal. This is partly the reason why it has one of the highest recycling percentages of Europe. There is a large amount of knowledge on waste separation technologies and the logistical system of waste collection and recycling. Dutch experience and knowledge can be applied, both nationally and internationally, in further circular-economy development. Moreover, many raw materials are transported via the Netherlands, which makes this country a suitable pivot point (resource roundabout). Populationdensity (inhabitants per km 2 ) (km/tonne per km 2 ) Density ofinfrastructure (km 2 per km 2 ) Density ofbuilt-up area (tonne per km 2 ) Density ofresource flows (%) Recycling household waste (%) (number per inhabitant) Waste collectionand recyclingpatents pbl.nl pbl.nl Other EU28 countries (excl. Malta) EU28 Belgium High Low zero High Low zero Luxembourg Germany Finland Luxembourg Austria Austria Netherlands Belgium Belgium Belgium Luxembourg Belgium Source: Eurostat; OECD; adaptation by PBL

The Netherlands began taking measures, early on, to reduce waste disposal. This is partly the reason why it has one of the highest recycling percentages of Europe. There is a large amount of knowledge on waste separation technologies and the logistical system of waste collection and recycling.

Dutch experience and knowledge can be applied, both nationally and internationally, in further circular-economy development. Moreover, many raw materials are transported via the Netherlands, which makes this country a suitable pivot point (resource roundabout).

Mining the city Many resources originally were extracted from the earth and became stored in buildings and infrastructure, as well as in products, such as televisions, brochures and bottles. The built environment can be considered an urban mine, from which valuable resources can be reclaimed. Residual heat from industry Concrete and steel from buildings Precious metals from electronics Metal from cars Glass and paper from households pbl.nl
Mining the city Many resources originally were extracted from the earth and became stored in buildings and infrastructure, as well as in products, such as televisions, brochures and bottles. The built environment can be considered an urban mine, from which valuable resources can be reclaimed. Metal from cars Concrete and steel from buildings Glass and paper from households Precious metals from electronics Residual heat from industry