Rotterdam – towards a circular port

November 5, 2019

How ports can become  accelerators for the circular economy

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In terms of size and location, the Port of Rotterdam is strategically well-positioned to develop into a circular hub. The local industry, logistics sector and surrounding region are all major consumers of raw materials and generates a wide variety of waste flows. Valorising and recycling these residual flows offers Rotterdam new economic opportunities and societal benefits.

This was the main message from the report ‘Rotterdam towards a circular port – a deep dive into Waste-to-Value opportunities‘ that is published today by the Port of Rotterdam Authority and Circle Economy. The report maps out the current waste flows in the port, as well as developments within a number of innovative industrial companies that are already committed to circular activities. The report also provides insights into promising new circular activities that could be developed. 

Even though most of the industrial waste within the Port of Rotterdam is already recycled or used as fuel, a significant proportion of the waste is still incinerated or sent to landfill. By creating value from residual flows, Rotterdam can strengthen its position as a circular port and an international Waste-to-Value Port with a leading position in raw material productivity and low-carbon, circular production.

Ports are engines for the economy – and can become accelerators for the circular economy. Ports like the Port of Rotterdam are where material flows from all over the world and all stages of value chains come together, especially of industries that are huge consumers of raw materials. It’s great to see that the Port of Rotterdam is taking a leadership role to explore how circular economy strategies can be realized and contribute to environmental, social and economic prosperity.”

Harald Friedl, CEO at Circle Economy
Four approaches to advance circularity 

The circular ambitions of The Port of Rotterdam will at first, focus on encouraging innovation by attracting new circular initiatives and scaling start-ups. Looking towards the future, the Port will focus on promising technologies that can cope with the large volumes of the Rotterdam region. Secondly, sorting and recycling are priorities. This is a perfect match because all the links of a variety of value chains are present in Rotterdam: from primary production, transport, sorting and recycling to a market for a range of secondary products. The third focus area is industrial symbiosis. The concentration of industrial and logistical activities makes it relatively easy for companies to exchange products and residual flows, and make use of shared facilities. Finally, there is an emphasis on CCU (Carbon Capture & Utilisation), a technology in which CO2 is captured and reused as a resource for the industry.

Circular Economy supports ambition to become CO2 Neutral

The focus on circularity fits in with the broader ambition of the Port of Rotterdam to align with the Paris Climate Agreement goals. The Port aims to play a leading role in the international energy transition and has created a roadmap to achieve the national climate goals for 2030 and 2050 in three stages. Circularity plays an indispensable role to achieve these goals.

Read more about the Port Rotterdam’s circular strategy



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