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Circular Economy

What policies support the achievement of these ambitions?

There are multiple policy measures already in place stimulating a circular economy, both at the European and Dutch level. On the European level, there are multiple policy packages; on the Dutch level, the “From Waste to Resources”-program (in Dutch: VANG) is leading.

Dutch national level

Green Deals

In 2011, the Government started with the Green Deal-approach, as part of the programme Green Growth. Wit this interactive method, the government wants to allow room for innovative, sustainable initiatives from society. The programme does this by removing obstacles in laws and legislations, creating new markets, giving good information and creating optimal partnerships. Through clear mutual agreements participants can work on concrete results, where every involved party has their own responsibility. There are a few Green Deals that pertain to circular economics, such as:

  1. Netherlands Hotspot for Circular Economics: this Green Deal has the goal to accelerate the transition to a circular economy, by executing circular projects that have the potential to be scaled up;
  2. Circular Buildings: this Green Deal is aimed at the minimal use and reuse of resources and products in the design and exploitation of business premises;
  3. Circular Procurement: with this Green Deal a few procuring organisations will start a minimum of two Circular Procurement projects in 2014, and share their knowledge and experience with other Dutch parties;
  4. Circle City: this Green Deal aims to support the transition to a circular and inclusive economy with reference to material flows in the construction sector through realising a similar approach in a minimum of five other cities than Rotterdam;
  5. Fisheries for a Cleaner Sea: this Green Deal aims to reduce the amount of waste from the fishery sector that ends up in the sea. The whole waste chain in the fishery business works together to separate waste and storing it in Dutch ports, and recycling as much as possible;
  6. Waste-free Festivals: this Green Deal aims at the prevention of waste at festivals, separating waste and recycling;
  7. Meerlanden and SGN: waste processing plant De Meerlanden and horticulture association will work together to deliver residual heat and CO2 to horticulture businesses.

Source (in Dutch): Greendeals

From Waste to Resource

In the Netherlands, the document “From waste to resource” (Dutch: Van afval naar grondstof) offers eight governmental aims to arrive at a circular economy. These aims are elaborated upon with policy implementation suggestions. These are:

  • Making the front end of the supply chain sustainable;
  • Making consumption patterns more sustainable;
  • Improving waste separation and collection;
  • Targeting current waste policies on circular economy;
  • Tackling specific supply chains and waste streams;
  • Developing financial and market incentives;
  • Connecting knowledge and education to the circular economy;
  • Simplifying methods, indicators and labels.

Rijksoverheid, 2014, p.4-22

Space in Rules for Green Growth

The programme Space in Rules is an initiative of the Ministery of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, in association with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and the Department of Waterways and Public Works. The programme stimulates innovative investments of businesses by removing obstacles in laws and legislation. The entrepreneur is the reference point.

The website of the programme details what obstacles are being worked on, which are on the ‘waiting list’ and which obstacles have been removed.

Source: Ruimte in Regels voor Groene Groei

European level

There is a range of policies and measures already in place at the EU level that address part of the transition to a circular economy. Due to reforms, for some of these policy packages the future is unclear.

  • The Circular Economy Package, which includes a communication strategy and a proposal to amend six EU waste Directives;
  • The Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe, the 7th Environmental Action Programme and the recommendations of the European Resource Efficiency Platform;
  • Ambitions on advancing the green economy within and beyond the EU, including the post-2015 development framework;
  • Taking forward the bio economy in the EU;
  • Implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including resource efficiency;
  • The on-going European Semester process, which yearly reviews economic policies;
  • The EU Zero Waste-program

European Commission, 2014, p.29-45