Need for a circular economy

The global population continues to grow rapidly, increasing demand for products and our use of raw materials. This harms the global climate and biodiversity, and increases pollution. At the same time, shortages of critical raw materials, used in many key products and technologies, are a real risk. The government is therefore working with industry and civil society partners to ensure that, by 2050, the Netherlands will have a circular economy based on sufficiency, with all products and materials being used and reused for as long as possible. In this circular economy, there will be no waste or wastage.

A healthy planet and a strong economy

Smarter and more efficient use of resources will in the future enable people to enjoy a prosperous life on a healthy planet, with a strong and sustainable economy. There are 3 reasons to invest in a circular economy:

1. Positive effects on the natural environment

A circular economy can be an important instrument to tackle the current triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity decline and pollution. Extracting or producing raw materials, and using them to make goods, causes greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, and uses land. These negative effects can be avoided by reusing materials more efficiently and for longer. This will also benefit biodiversity. Finally, less waste will mean less pollution, such as plastic soup in our oceans. 

2. Improving security of supply

Currently, the Netherlands imports many raw materials, such as food and critical raw materials for the energy transition and industry. Being dependent on other countries for these materials makes the Netherlands, and Europe, more vulnerable to supply chain disruptions. 

In a circular economy, the Netherlands will be much less dependent on other countries. Secondary raw materials will be extracted from products that were once destroyed and incinerated.

3. More jobs and businesses

The circular economy will lead to new business models (based on sharing or leasing, for example) and repair, cleaning and refurbishment services, resulting in new jobs and businesses.