Circular Dutch economy by 2050

Global demand for products and raw materials is increasing. That is why central government is working with other public authorities, knowledge institutions, environmental organisations, industry, trade unions, financial institutions and civil society organisations to find smarter and more efficient ways of using products and raw materials. The goal is for the Dutch economy to be completely circular by 2050.

Goals for a circular economy

In the new National Programme on circular Economy 2023-230, the government sees 4 ways to make the Dutch economy circular as circular as quickly possible:

  1. Reducing raw material usage
    We will need less raw materials if we buy fewer products, share items we already own and produce items more efficiently.
  2. Substituting raw materials
    When new raw materials are needed, we should use sustainably produced, renewable and widely available raw materials whenever possible. For example biomass, which is raw material made of plants, trees and food waste. This will make the Netherlands less dependent on fossil resources, and it is better for the environment.
  3. Extending product life
    We can use products and parts for longer and more intensively if we reuse and repair them. This slows demand for new products and new raw materials.
  4. High-grade processing
    We can recycle materials and raw materials so that new products can be made from them. This means less waste goes to landfill or is incinerated. And it increases the supply of sustainable raw materials.

The National Circular Economy Programme 2023-2030 contains measures for each of these 4 approaches. It also contains measures for specific product groups, like furniture or homes, and supporting measures for specific focus areas such as education, circular procurement and circular business models.

Timeline for the transition to a circular economy 2016 - 2050

International cooperation for a circular future

To create a circular economy in the Netherlands, changes are needed in Europe and worldwide. This is because the circular economy needs a systemic change of our economy, and the economy is interconnected worldwide. After all, raw material supply chains, production processes and waste flows are global. And not all waste products or materials end up in the Netherlands, or even Europe. Also, many businesses operate internationally. That’s why the government works with other countries as much as possible, in the European Union and also within the framework of the United Nations.

The Netherlands is a member of the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE), in which more than 40 countries, companies and international organisations work together.