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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 measuring circularity has yet emerged. However, there are a large number of tools, such as scans and databases, that map circularity qualitatively or quantitatively.

11 Tools to measure circularity

The Versnellingshuis Nederland circulair! has published an overview of 11 tools to measure the circularity of products, organisations and regions. While the overview is in Dutch, almost all tools are in English. With these tools an entrepreneur or policymaker can answer questions like: 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 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 2018, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency published a report in Dutch entitled “Circular Economics: What We Want to Know and Can Measure” with a proposal to measure the circularity of the Netherlands. This monitoring system is necessary if the central government is to measure progress towards its ambition to be fully circular by 2050. Read the full report here (in Dutch):

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):