From a linear to a circular economy

In a circular economy, waste does not exist and products and raw materials are (designed to be) reused as long and intensive as possible over and over again. Waste is the new raw material.

Re-use of products and raw materials

In a circular economy, nearly all products used by Dutch people will be reused again and again. If a product is broken, it will be repaired. And if that is no longer possible, new products are made from it.  In a circular economy, waste is the new raw material. There is no longer the line: produce, consume and then throw it away. 

This saves raw materials, the environment and reduces CO2 emissions. It stimulates innovation, new business activity and employment.

Circular economy in practice

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.

There are also products that are not often used or stand still, such as drills and cars. In a circular economy, these products are used more intensively, for example by sharing them with others. On balance, this means that fewer products and therefore fewer raw materials are needed.  

In a circular economy we treat our environment responsibly. For example, by preventing litter on streets or in the natural environment. The government is already taking steps in this direction, for example by banning free plastic bags.  More than 80% of consumers say they often or always take their own bag instead of buying a single use plastic bag from the shop.

Consumer behavior change needed for circular economy

A properly functioning circular economy does not only depend on the government and industry. Consumers, too, have a role to play: choosing sustainable products must become the new standard. Consumers also contribute to a circular economy by using things longer, repairing them or taking them to the recycling shop. The government wants to stimulate this behavior by giving the circular economy a place in education and by conducting campaigns.