Towards a Circular Economy and Society

The hub Towards a Circular Economy and Society of Pathways to Sustainability is a platform for scientists of Utrecht University and stakeholders to jointly contribute to the transition to a sustainable circular society.

Environmental degradation, climate change, and scarcity of resources are key challenges for modern society. From the stone age to modern society, materials provide essential services to mankind. Indeed, materials touch every aspect and moment of our lives. As a result of global population growth and increased prosperity there is an increasing demand for raw materials.

Recycling
We dispose more material than ever before. Credit: iStock/Janine Lamontagne

Today, we extract, produce, process and dispose more material than ever before, leading to exponential growth. This leads to increased environmental pressures and is clearly unsustainable. Dealing with this explosive demand for materials is one of the main challenges we face in the 21st century. This is also recognised by the Dutch government and the European Commission in their circular economy policies. These challenges makes it necessary to fundamentally change our ways of production and consumption. In Dutch and European policy the transition to a circular economy (in a broad sense) is seen as essential for facing these challenges and realising sustainable use of resources.

Researchers and societal partners develop new insights, technologies, and policies to help society become circular

Working together in the hub

In the hub, Utrecht University researchers from a large range of academic disciplines collaborate with societal partners to develop new insights, technologies and policies to help society become circular. The transformation requires collaboration over the whole supply chain, while creating new value chains. In turn, this requires a wide coalition of researchers, practitioners, and policy makers from a wide spectrum of disciplines and backgrounds to provide the knowledge to guide the process. Launched in November 2019, the hub is a unique place where these backgrounds meet to generate new cutting edge insights and initiate new research activities in this direction.

This website

On this website you can find information on the hub and how to get involved. Use the navigation buttons above to learn more about our expertise, projects and opportunities.

Circular economy