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Speeding up the circular economy

Speeding up the circular economy

Monday, February 5, 2018

Article by Willard Bouwmeester, originally published on Nederland Circulair.

Three main players in the waste and resource management sector (Milgro, SUEZ and Renewi) ran a workshop on the circular economy during the New Year’s Event of MVO Nederland (CSR Netherlands). Key question of the workshop was how we can speed up the transition towards a circular economy. This led to interesting insights.

Participant poll

The workshop participants were asked to share their views on how the transition should take place. This lead to interesting results and a surprising degree of consensus. In order to speed up the transition:

  • companies should organize their resource streams as efficiently as they do their HR or financial management.
  • innovations in applications and re-use of resources are required. This can only function well if companies can create a sustainable and profitable business model.
  • recycling companies should not be the end of a linear chain, but part of a resource cycle.
  • shareholder value should become less of a focus, while social and ecologic value creation should gain a more central place.
  • collaboration between producers, retailers, government and recycling companies is desirable, but coordination is essential.

There are plenty of opportunities

In short, there are plenty of opportunities available. Fortunately, the urgency of the problem is more and more widely acknowledged and the stakeholders are working together better and better.

“We have to organise the return logistics for resources,” Laurens Groen, CEO of Milgro states. “By directing (used and wasted) resources using data and insights, performances can be improved, and recycling and re-use of resources can be optimized. This consequently reduces the cost of waste management.”


Serge Flantua, Director of Sales of SUEZ: “More scarcity of resources is necessary to create awareness and to make us handle our resources with more care.” Taxation of resources could speed up this process, too.

Gijs Derks, Commercial Director of Renewi Netherlands wrapped up the meeting with a idea that could foster innovation: “Why isn’t there a circular campus yet, where we can collaborate on innovations for waste and resources?”

 Photo: (left to right) Serge Flantua (SUEZ), Laurens Groen, (Milgro), Gijs Derks (Renewi) and facilitator Michiel Schuurman (MVO NL).