With a growing world population, a key challenge is how we can use the Earth's finite resources much more efficiently. Circular economy is an innovative and sustainable approach to the way we consume, produce, and dispose of goods and services. It is a model that aims to keep resources in use for as long as possible, minimize waste and pollution, and regenerate natural systems.
Circular economy research involves studying the ways in which we can design products and systems that are circular, exploring new business models that incentivize sustainable practices, and analyzing the economic, environmental, and social impacts of a circular economy.
Our researchers in this field collaborate across a range of disciplines to investigate sustainable consumption, technological innovations and new organizational arrangements. They collaborate with businesses, policymakers, and communities to identify opportunities for circularity, and to develop and test new solutions.
By advancing circular economy research, we can create a more sustainable and resilient economy that benefits both people and the planet. Ultimately, circular economy research can help us to create a world in which we live in harmony with our environment, while still enjoying the benefits of a thriving economy.
Targeting the full potential of biotic waste streams and biotic feedstock
The Copernicus Institute and RIVM are looking towards industry to eliminate obstacles during innovation of green chemistry.
Policy brief: The Circular Economy
Marko Hekkert and Denise Reike contributed to a policy brief discussing how progress is being measured in the transition towards a circular economy.
The circular economy and the search for a new economic paradigm
With its promise to transform the current economic paradigm, the circular economy is emerging as a championed approach for achieving sustainable economic development. Copernicus researchers are now taking the challenges of what we call "Circular Economy 3.0", which include seeking measures for creating shorter closed-loop material and energy cycles, that also account for broader system effects and complexities.
CHAPLIN XL: Exploring the potential of bio-based asphalt
Can we use biobased asphalt at large scale anytime soon? The construction of test strips with bioasphalt in the Netherlands should provide the necessary knowledge to start applying this technology at large scale.
The Rise of the Platform Economy
The advent of online platforms enables private individuals to share goods on a massive scale, making people less reliant on private ownership. The sustainability effects such sharing platforms, however, are ambiguous.
Exploring urban metabolism—Towards an interdisciplinary perspective
In this white paper by Ernst Worrell, Martin Dijst and others, a combined natural and social science perspective on urban metabolism is discussed.
Digital technologies can foster the circular economy – but what about their sustainability impact?
The Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, big data, blockchain and 3D printing. In the ongoing quest to develop a circular economy these kinds of digital technologies are expected to play a major role. Copernicus research shows we have an incomplete picture of the sustainability of digital technologies expected to underpin the transition to a circular economy.
Producer still insufficiently responsible for circular economy
For a truly circular economy, producers should be further incentivized to use recycled materials and extend their products lifespan.
Assessing the social impacts of circular strategies in the Apparel Value Chain
This project aims at analysing the Fashion Value Chain from a global and local perspective with emphasis in India, Spain, and the Netherlands.
Pathways towards sustainable circular business models
Utrecht University and the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) are collaborating on circular business model implementation. This project supports firms in their transition to more circular business models, not by defining circularity, but by exploring the question of how we get there.