The Dutch province of North-Holland has chosen to strive for a circular economy.By applying smart strategies that help increase the reuse of resources within company conglomerates, the demand for virgin resources will decrease, energy savings will be achieved and jobs will be created. North-Holland wants to transition to a circular economy in order to prepare the province for a sustainable future, while at the same time creating a healthy economic and liveable climate. To make this ambitious transition a reality, the province has asked the social enterprise, Circle Economy, to identify and visualise the opportunities within North-Holland by completing a Circle Regional Scan. Upon completion of the scan, Circle Economy identified 58 practical, circular opportunities for the province and visualised them through tangible examples.
Using tomato plant waste to create paper? This is actually possible. This example shows how rest materials from one sector can be used as a resource by another sector.The opportunity map created by Circle Economy focuses on seven clusters within the province that represent the largest economical value and offer the most employment. These seven pivotal clusters identified in North Holland (tourism, logistics, road construction, hospitals, horticulture & seeds, and food processing & retail) provide 310.000 jobs and represent an economic value of 22 billion euro. The total material consumption in all of these clusters combined is a staggering 12 million tonnes annually, the vast majority of which is not used to the fullest extent at the end of its life-cycles. By applying circular strategies within these major, material consuming clusters, the biggest economical and ecological impact can be made.
“The transition towards a circular economy provides huge opportunities for the economic development of companies within North-Holland. The opportunity map provides us with a very comprehensive overview as to where these opportunities lie. In the coming period we will connect with the industry in our province to verify what their specific needs are and how we can be an enabler for them. Combining this information will determine where the province will focus its energy in the first half of 2017”
– Jack van der Hoek – Province Deputy of North Holland
Implementing Circular Projects
The mobility sector produces 2,800 tonnes of waste yearly in the form of run down cars and discarded car parts like car tires. Worldwide more that 1.5 billion tires are removed from vehicles every year, creating around 13.5 million tonnes of solid waste. More than half of these tires are burned or landfilled. A circular answer to this issue could be to recover carbon black from these old tires, instead of burning them to produce crude oil. The amount of CO₂ emissions saved by this process will contribute to achieving the Paris Climate Agreements.
“Implementing the circular economy is not just about creating a sustainable future, but about creating jobs and rejuvenating industries. It brings business opportunities in the form of new chain collaborations and material savings”
– Jurn de Winter – Project Manager Circle Cities Programme
Tourism also plays a vital part in the economy of North-Holland. The sector is responsible for some of the largest waste streams of the province with 7,000 tonnes of food being wasted on a yearly basis, matching the yearly food consumption of 100,000 people. One of the solutions Circle Economy suggests is to find ways to consume food that is now considered waste. A restaurant chain in Amsterdam uses food that, due to strict regulations, cannot be sold in supermarkets, but is still completely edible, as a source for their meals. This restaurant in Amsterdam proves that per restaurant they can save around one ton of food from ending up in waste bins every week.
These examples highlight just two of the 58 circular opportunities that the province could implement together with local businesses.
The Circle Cities Programme is a global platform through which cities, regions and local businesses can make the transition towards the circular economy. By joining the programme, members gain access to Circle Economy’s tools, knowledge and support to implement practical and scalable circular solutions.
Contact us to learn more about how your city or region can become a member of the Circle Cities community!