Some hundred Flemish partners signed a declaration to realise the circular transition of the Flemish economy in six areas. The leaders of this initiative are the Flemish ministers Hilde Crevits (Economy and Innovation) and Zuhal Demir (Environment). Together, the ministers have already invested 120 million in circular innovation from 2019 to 2022. And they will continue to do so.
In the construction sector, a digital passport of buildings is being developed that contains the composition of materials in those buildings. This digitisation will map out the materials and help ensure that nothing goes to waste. In the manufacturing industry, there are many opportunities for the social economy to repair household appliances, ICT equipment, e-bikes and batteries and extend their use. These are two examples that Brigitte Mouligneau of Circular Flanders gave at the press conference.
Circular Flanders is one of the hundred partners that signed the declaration of commitment. Circular building is a concrete domain of this. The other domains are the bio-economy, circular economy and plastics, the manufacturing industry, food chain and waterways. For each domain, a plan with concrete actions and a strong public partnership is prepared.
Small and large companies and institutions have expressed their support for the declaration of commitment. Major players include the Boerenbond, Vlaamse Confederatie Bouw, Agoria, Fedustria, HoGent and the BBL.
If we want to combat global warming or the materials race, then circular economy is the answer. Innovations and recycling are indispensable. Much more effort must be put into converting our own used materials and waste must be reprocessed into new materials
Circular transition in practice
In practice, we see that a lot of companies have already put this thinking into practice. Not only by repairing old appliances or components, but also by producing biodegradable plastic from potato peels or insulation material from mown grass. Some materials are already being produced in a fully circular manner. Just think of plaster walls, building blocks, jeans or reusable cups.
Sometimes it is even simpler: new business models are already opting more for renting and sharing in order to avoid having to use materials unnecessarily.
"It should be our ambition to double the reuse of our materials or their recycling by 2030," Minister Crevits stated at the signing. "Today, we are already 21% circular in Flanders. That rate has to go up, for our environment, but also for our independence from foreign countries and employment in our economy."
Circular Economy Monitor
The circular progress in Flanders can also be followed via the Circular Economy Monitor. "In a circular economy, we all win," says Minister Demir. "It offers gigantic opportunities for industry that can completely rethink itself. And in our search for suitable raw materials, we become less dependent on substances that can only be found in faraway countries. The climate gains from this and our wallet also benefits."