Mathieu Dasnois


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Mathieu Dasnois, Communications Manager at Metabolic, posted

Week of the Circular Economy #8: InStock

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Instead of delicious food being thrown out, InStock redirects it onto a plate. In this interview, Freke van Nimwegen, founder of InStock, explains how they rescue fresh and healthy produce in the Netherlands from going to the landfill. With one-third of all the food in the world binned which was cultivated for consumption, it’s not just the food that’s wasted but the energy of farming, processing and transporting. This innovative initiative has set out to find solutions. They have their own restaurants serving rescued food, a marketplace for restaurants to buy fresh produce otherwise destined for the bin, and also offer beer and granola products made from ‘food waste’.

Here is an excerpt from this interview:

What can you tell me about the problem of food waste, how do you tackle it and how much food have you saved?

One-third of all food is wasted, and that happens mostly at the beginning and the end of the food chain. Right now at InStock we’re mostly focusing on the primary industry, so the food that is either at the farmers, producers, packaging companies or the broker. There is a lot of waste already before the retailer food companies even get it so we focus on their products that would be wasted otherwise, but are still perfectly fine. We then bring it to our restaurants as well as others to make sure it’s used. We have now saved close to 900,000 kilos from going in the bin.

What is the story of the InStock restaurants?

We started the restaurants in 2014 and our press release got so much attention we were fully booked immediately. We now have restaurants in 3 locations, one of them is in the political heart in Amsterdam which is great to create awareness, as politicians come to eat there. We have found really creative chefs who create lunch and dinner with whatever comes in. They used to have to make new recipes often, but over the years we’ve been able to establish a database of recipes to handle whatever comes in. For example, if beetroots come in we have a recipe for beetroot risotto which we can make for three weeks or three days depending on the quantity. We now have more and regular suppliers with larger quantities so we have a better prediction of what we are going to get. Also our creative chefs have come up with recipes that we have made a cookbook out of.

Could you tell me more about the beer and granola products that have been made from rescued food?

Because some products are wasted more than others we tried to see what we could use them for. So together with a local Amsterdam brewery, we made Pieper Bier from rescued potatoes and Bammetjes beer from rescued bread. From this collaboration we discovered that the grain which is left over after making beer at breweries, is still a very nutritious product with a lot of fibers and protein, so we use that as the base for our InStock Granola.

What do you think are the biggest barriers to getting more initiatives to use food waste?

In general, our whole system is based on a linear economy. The business case for a circular product is hard because it takes more time and money to get products that would be wasted otherwise. So, for example, it would have been cheaper for us in the beginning to just buy it at the wholesaler then what we were doing. But right now we're just seeing that as we are scaling up, with more suppliers and higher quantities delivering to InStock, then it becomes cheaper. It’s the same for packing and plastics, a lot of people want to work with recycled plastic but if it’s so much more expensive than normal plastic then why would they? Taxes could play a big role in this because now we are taxing income, but if we taxed resources then it would become a lot more interesting for companies to work towards circular business.

Could you tell me more about the ‘zero waste hierarchy’ and what you think are the best solutions?

The summary is to reduce, reuse, recycle, in that order. For us, of course, if you can prevent products or food from becoming waste, that’s better. After this, we reuse and recycle. If the food is not edible anymore then at least keep the value as high as possible. So for example, make compost out of it or animal feed from it instead of burning it or throwing it into the landfill.


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Mathieu Dasnois, Communications Manager at Metabolic, posted

Week of the Circular Economy #5: getting buy-in for products-as-a-serivce

The concept of products-as-a-service is a promising avenue to ensure more re-usability, more repairing, more recycling, and less needless consumption. Gerrard Street co-founder Dorus Galama shared insights about rentable headphones and when people commit to a circular product. Creating modular headphones was the easy part. The challenge was convincing customers to rent something they are used to buying. Check out this extract and follow the link for more:

"Metabolic: How did you convince people to try a product-as-a-service approach out before it became popular?

DG: What we did is we bought a caravan and installed our prototypes, before we even had a production line, and toured around the country to festivals. We staged a silent disco to market our research and development, and listened to the feedback from people. The main barrier we found was asking for a minimum of a one year commitment from customers, that was huge for them. Once we dropped that and allowed people to try it out for one month, that made it a lot easier. Now we go even further, putting out the offer of the first month for free.

On the website, we explain why the service exists. It is a combination of explaining the sustainability aspect and why this approach works for the customer. We find the sustainability doesn’t convince a lot of people to buy on its own. Most are actually convinced by the flexibility this approach offers: you can switch models to an upgraded model if anything breaks, or they can order in new parts at no cost.

In direct sales, sustainability doesn’t work too much. But when we ask the people who become paying customers what they like about it afterwards and what they tell their peers, sustainability is a big thing. It is not necessarily the reason to buy, but something people like to associate themselves with the brand about. It’s a better story.

Especially in the beginning, we found sustainability enthusiasts subscribed to support us, but didn’t stay with it and use the headphones because they weren’t necessarily music lovers, so they eventually cancel because it was just to support us. You can’t build a business off that."

This interview is part of a series, by Metabolic, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute), Gemeente Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Economic Board and Amsterdam Smart City. Together we aim to showcase what a circular economy can look like.

Meet the pioneers, learn from them and get inspired!

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Mathieu Dasnois, Communications Manager at Metabolic, posted

Rijkswaterstaat: Climate-neutral and Circular Procurement

The Netherlands has high policy ambitions to become 100% circular by 2050, and consume 50% less primary raw materials in 2030. Public procurement can be an incredibly powerful tool, and the Dutch government sees climate-neutral and circular procurement as a means to achieve significant CO2 reductions. However, a framework to quickly and easily assess what is green, circular and climate-neutral can be challenging.

Metabolic proposed a framework for impact measurement of Green Public Procurement, did an analysis of the current state of impact measurement and developed a roadmap towards a harmonized model for the public sector in the Netherlands. We approached the study on three different levels: the level of a product group, the level of an organization and the level of national reporting. Subsequently, we developed a roadmap with actions that should be taken in the coming 5 years in order to arrive at a more uniform impact monitoring for climate-neutral and circular procurement.

Implementation of the roadmap produced in the study will help the Dutch government develop a clear monitoring framework that helps public organizations compare purchase options and make sustainable purchasing decisions more easily.

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Mathieu Dasnois, Communications Manager at Metabolic, posted

Circular Solutions: reducing e-waste in mobile phones

Whenever a mobile phone is thrown away, we lose the value of its components but also the value of its production, transportation, and labor. Currently, only 20% of electronic products are formally recycled, while integrated construction makes repairing and reusing electronic components increasingly difficult. Fairphone is attempting not only to recycle, but also to re-use and repair electronic components and source them from ethical supply chains.

Read our interview with Fairphone co-founder Miquel Ballester Salvà to learn what other impacts Fairphone is trying to minimize, what drives them, and where the compnay is is headed.

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Mathieu Dasnois, Communications Manager at Metabolic, posted

Solutions for the nitrogen emissions crisis

The nitrogen emissions crisis has seen as many as 18,000 construction and infrastructure projects stall across the Netherlands, and hundreds of farmers protesting in their tractors. But nitrogen impacts represent one of the greatest threats to our planetary life support systems, with big consequences for biodiversity and climate change.

So, why are nitrogen emissions a problem in the first place? Is the issue primarily related to construction, farming, or something else, and how do we fix this?

Our Industries team lead Pieter van Exter undertook some detailed analysis and outlines potential pathways out of the crisis.

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Mathieu Dasnois, Communications Manager at Metabolic, posted

Analyzing Dordrecht’s waste to build circular business cases as strong as concrete.

The Municipality of Dordrecht, a city in South Holland, tasked Metabolic with undertaking material flow analyses of the construction and manufacturing sectors, in order to identify circular opportunities. The report is publicly available (in Dutch, linked below) and we are proud to share it with you.

We undertook two Material Flow Analyses (MFAs) for Dordrecht’s building and demolition sector, as well as the manufacturing sector. We identified concrete as the biggest opportunity for circular solutions. The business cases have the potential to create 8-30 jobs and reduce CO2 emissions by 22,500 tons per year in the region. The transition towards a circular concrete chain is considered as a good starting point for the further development of a circular economy in Dordrecht. The knowledge and experience gained can then be used to realize other circular opportunities, such as wood, metals and e-waste.

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