From a linear to a circular economy

The world population is growing and this is affecting the environment. To ensure there’s enough food, water and prosperity in 2050, we need to switch from a linear to a circular economy. That’s why the government has developed the Government-wide programme for a Circular Economy. The aim is to ensure healthy and safe living and working conditions, and cause less harm to the environment.

For a long time, our economy has been ‘linear’. This means that raw materials are used to make a product, and after its use any waste (e.g. packaging) is thrown away. In an economy based on recycling, materials are reused. For example, waste glass is used to make new glass and waste paper is used to make new paper. To ensure that in the future there are enough raw materials for food, shelter, heating and other necessities, our economy must become circular. That means preventing waste by making products and materials more efficiently and reusing them. If new raw materials are needed, they must be obtained sustainably so that the natural and human environment is not damaged. 

Government-wide programme for the Circular Economy

The government wants the Dutch economy to be circular by 2050. To achieve this, it has developed the Government-wide programme for the Circular Economy, in which several ministries are involved. It includes all programmes aimed at handling raw materials more efficiently: e.g. the From Waste to Resource (VANG), Green Growth and Biobased Economy programmes. The Circular Economy programme will help to create a safe and healthy human environment.    

What is a circular economy?

In a circular economy, manufacturers design products to be reusable. For example, electrical devices are designed in such a way that they are easier to repair. Products and raw materials are also reused as much as possible. For example, by recycling plastic into pellets for making new plastic products. In a circular economy we treat our surroundings responsibly. For example, by preventing litter on streets or in the natural environment.