Waste as a resource

The discussion about a circular economy has thus far mainly focused on the theory: what would a circular economy ideally look like? Too little attention is being given to practice: how can we realize the circular economy? Against this background USI initiated a series of Circular Economy Labs in 2013. These debate nights offer parties involved per chain or per cluster the possibility to meet, to debat specific bottlenecks and to jointly formulate actions in order to realize the Circular Economy.

1. E-waste recycling | 17 October 2013

How can the collection of e-waste be increased via new creative collection methods at district level using ICT applications? Students and recent graduates took up this challenge and submitted their proposals for the E-waste 2.0 Challenge. The 6 best ideas were invited to present their innovative solutions during the first Circular Economy Lab. More information about the labs is in Dutch.

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2. Construction and demolition waste | 28 November 2013

How can we upscale successful examples of sustainable demolition and renovation to a national level? The experiences of 'Circle City' (Rotterdam) form the starting point. Here, sustainable advantage was realized by chain cooperation. This debate night was also the start of an active netwerk, a so-called 'community of practice'. More information about the labs is in Dutch.

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3. Paper and cardboard | 28 January 2014

Paper and cardboard products already have a high recycling rate, using up to 80% paper waste in the production process. Yet, there is still much to gain in this sector. Therefore, the discussion focused on the question: "How can the paper and cardboard sector together with supply chain partners take next steps in closing the cycle of paper and cardboard?" More information about the labs is in Dutch.

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4. Building blocks | 22 April 2014

The circular economy affects all sectors of the Dutch economy. But which material flows are priority and contribute the most to the circular economy? This was the central question of the fourth Circular Economy Lab.

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5. Circular procurement | 24 June 2014

Circular procurement offers many advantages, such as lower costs, improved supplier management and less waste management. How can measurement of economical, environmental and social effects contribute to an efficient and effective procurement strategy? More information about the labs is in Dutch.

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6. Recycling in construction | 25 September 2014

The construction sector offers great opportunities for recycling and savings in use of natural resources. But at present it is difficult to make a fair comparison between the calculation of the environmental performance of recycled products and of 'virgin' materials. How should we do this? More information about the labs is in Dutch.

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7. Closed loop communities | 14 October 2014

The amount of local sustainability initiatives is increasing. Citizens and entrepreneurs unite and come up with innovative and creative solutions to reduce or reuse local waste. But how do we integrate innovative ideas in the existing waste management system? More information about the labs is in Dutch.

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8. The value of plastic | 2 December 2014

Large quantities of plastic products and packaging are used on a daily basis. An increasing amount is being recycled. How do we turn plastic waste into a valuable recycling stream and increase the use of recycled plastic as renewable raw material for products and packaging? More information about the labs is in Dutch.

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9. Textile | 30 March 2015

In the Netherlands, 135 million kilos of textile from household waste end up in the incinerator every year. Several circular initiatives were initiated, but the cycle is far from closed. Which technological, economical and organisational innovation is needed to realise a closed loop? More information about the labs is in Dutch.

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10. Food reuse | 23 June 2015

Every year the Dutch waste an average of 109-162 kilos of food per person. The production requires a lot of energy and resources and causes greenhouse gas emissions. How can we reuse food maintaining the highest value as food instead of throwing it away? More information about the labs is in Dutch.

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11. Interior design | 16 November 2015

How do we sustain interior design and make it circular in design and exploitation? This debate night focused on the possibilities for sustainable interior design and on matching supply and demand in the market. More information about the labs is in Dutch.

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12. Mattress recycling | 25 January 2016

In recent years several initiatives for mattress recycling were launched in the Netherlands. In addition to initiatives of two specialized mattress recycling companies, there are producers who use recycled raw materials for among other insulation. Now is the time to scale up these initiatives. More information about the labs is in Dutch.

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13. Façades | 16 June 2016

The façade industry aims to stimulate high quality recycling and circular design of aluminum façades in the Netherland. By doing so they will make an important contribution to sustaining buildings. The ambition: entirely circular from the source to (product) reuse and with a profitable business case. More information about the labs is in Dutch.

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14. Waste-free offices | 23 November 2016

To realise waste-free offices we need a two-way approach. At the front of the process this means waste-free procurement and at the back end 100% separation and collection of waste streams for reuse. How do we organize and realize this in the Utrecht region? This evening was the start of two initiatives in the station area and Utrecht Science Park.

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15. Start-ups | 17 January 2017

The circular economy calls for innovative ideas and new business models. Start-ups can make a significant contribution to this. What is the best role for grown-ups and start-ups to work together, each in their power? What do start-ups need and how do we jointly implement an effective start-up ecosystem?

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16. Market acceptance | 16 June 2017

Market acceptance is essential for the transition to a circular economy. How can broad-based national and international agreements contribute effectively? The discussion is conducted on the basis of the national program Circular Economy and the 'Nationaal Grondstoffenakkoord', with the case 'Betonakkoord'.

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17. Corporate waste | 4 December 2017

Large amounts of corporate waste are created in our current economy. Several waste streams are incinerated and an increasing amount of waste is being dumped. Why is this residual waste still dumped or burned? And what is needed to realise high quality recycling?

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