Circular economy: Let ECN advise you

The growing world population and increasing levels of prosperity make it increasingly important to use raw materials efficiently - from the point of view of the environment and the scarcity of minerals. A transition to a complete disconnection between the use of materials and economic growth is needed. ECN advises businesses and governments on issues such as classifying waste, sustainable landfill management, converting waste into raw materials, and using materials that are better for the environment.

Governments need to draw up and apply regulations for encouraging the recycling market. Businesses should be reinvesting in innovative technologies in order to create closed circuits. The Netherlands is among the leaders in this area and is performing well, but it is clear to ECN that European legislation is becoming increasingly important.  

What is a circular economy?

In a circular economy, raw materials are extracted just once from the environment, and are subsequently used again and again. In other words, there is no waste in a circular economy.

What role does ECN play in the circular economy?

ECN has built up a great deal of knowledge through its environmental research, and with its expertise has an important advisory role to play regarding the circular economy. With the advanced ECN lab, its leading role in the development of testing methods, and its scientific knowledge of leaching and transport in the soil, ECN provides policy support for governments.

How can ECN help you?

ECN helps businesses and governments with: 

  1. Advice on the waste to raw material process
  2. Sustainable landfill management
  3. Classification of waste products
  4. Environmentally friendly use of materials
  5. Policy advice - on regulation, for example

 1. From waste to raw material (VANG)

Let ECN assist you in converting your waste into raw materials.We can describe your waste flow and give advice on the feasibility of recycling it. We contribute ideas on the processes that are needed in order to create a sustainable product from your waste. Finally, we advise on End of Waste – how do you rid yourself of the ‘waste’ label? 

Would you like to know more?

  • You can find more information about VANG in the brochure. This brochure can be downloaded free of charge here.

Download PM brochure

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2. Sustainable landfill management

In the context of the ‘Green Deal Duurzaam Stortbeheer’ (‘sustainable landfill management green deal’), ECN can carry out model calculations  to assess the effects on the groundwater of using, or not using, a capping layer on sustainable landfill sites.  We can also help you assess the technical measures needed to make your landfill site sustainable.


Would you like to know more?

  • You can find more information about sustainable landfill in the brochure. This brochure can be downloaded free of charge here.

Download AB brochure

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3. Classification of waste products

The processing costs of a substance that has been designated as hazardous waste can be considerable. 

ECN helps you navigate through the regulatory jungle, and determines how your waste should be classified. We can carry out lab analysis (element determination) and deduce the most likely speciation of your waste product. The result of this determines whether or not your waste product should be designated as hazardous.


Would you like to know more?

  • You can find more information about classifying waste products in the brochure. This brochure can be downloaded free of charge here.

  • Quick and free scan how hazardous your waste material is? Use the ECN ClassifyMyWaste™ tool and get a quick insight about potential “problematic” hazard properties and substances that could lead to the classification of your waste as hazardous.  

Download AB brochure

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4. Environmentally-friendly use of materials

When using materials on or in the ground, unacceptable levels of contamination may end up in the soil or groundwater. ECN can help you decide whether environmentally safe use is possible, especially for the international application market. We describe your materials in our lab and model for various application scenarios to see whether they could potentially cause problems.

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5. Policy advice (for regulation, legislation etc.)

The expertise of ECN in testing and modelling leaching processes forms the basis for policy advice. For example, ECN advised the Dutch government with regard to its Soil Quality Decree (Besluit Bodemkwaliteit). The Soil Quality Decree sets down, among other things, the conditions that building materials must meet in order to be used in the environment, and how they should be assessed. ECN is also involved with regulation concerning soil and dredgings and sustainably managed landfill sites.

ECN additionally uses its expertise in this area to advise European-level government bodies on policy and assessment methods for the safe application of building and residual materials

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More information or questions?

You can find more information about our expertise on the circular economy on our website, under research and technology.

We will be pleased to tell you more about our solutions and will gladly contribute ideas. Please use our contact form. We will then contact you as soon as possible.

Tip: take a look at what our customers say about our services.

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