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Circular Economy

How to measure circularity?

Measuring circularity is important in order to be able to make weighted choices between processes, products or companies. No generally accepted methodology for this has yet emerged. However, there are a large number of tools, such as scans and databases, that assess circularity qualitatively or quantitatively. Below is an overview of these tools.

13 Tools to measure circularity

The Versnellingshuis Nederland circulair! has published an overview of 13 tools to measure the circularity of products, organizations and regions. While the overview is in Dutch, almost all tools are in English. With these tools an entrepreneur or policymaker can answer questions such as: Which production process has the most circular impact? How to select a circular provider? And can you put a figure on how circular your organisation or region is? Only tools have been included in the overview that focus on circularity in particular and not on sustainability in general (such as LCA tools).

The government monitoring circularity

In addition to the parties mentioned above, the government has also pondered about how circularity can be measured. In 2018, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency published a proposal for this in the Dutch report “Circular Economics: What We Want to Know and Can Measure“. This monitoring system is necessary if the government is to measure progress towards achieving its ambition of being fully circular by 2050. Read the full report (in Dutch) here:


Underlying framework

A framework underlying most tools is the so-called R-ladder. The higher a strategy is on this list (ladder) of circularity strategies, the more circular the strategy is. Various versions of the R-ladder exist, with the version below being used by the Environmental Planning Office (2017):