Haitse Kreek


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Haitse Kreek, Adviseur Programma Duurzaamheid , posted

Circular Economy blog # 3 - vanPlestik

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In my last couple of weeks here at Amsterdam Smart City I will present you a series of interviews on the circular economy with companies here in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area.
In this third post I will introduce you to vanPlestik a company that contributes to one of the building blocks of the City of Amsterdam: to stimulate high-value recycling of complex consumer goods.
In a fully circular economy, products that can no longer be repaired or reused should be recycled in order to retrieve valuable resources. However, this is for most consumer goods a difficult process. For plastics and textiles for example this often lead to a loss of value.

I would like to introduce you to vanPlestik, a Dutch start-up founded by Nout and Sam. vanPlestik produces new products from recycled plastics by using their own developed and built 3D-printer. For this interview I spoke with Nout.

For which problem is vanPlestik a solution and how did you came to this solution?

Despite that a lot of plastics are already collected separately, we found out that a huge amount is still not recycled. It is a good thing that most plastics are already collected separately in the Netherlands, however a large part still end up in the incinerator. We were surprised and wanted to do something about this problem.

Therefore we asked ourselves: why is not every plastic product produced of recycled materials? We both have a technical background and automatically we started thinking in technical solutions and we found out that the problem is in the shortcomings of the machines that make plastic products. The existing machines were not able to process different kinds of plastics. So, as a experiment, we decided to develop and built a machine that is able to process different plastics. It took us quite some time to develop a prototype and soon we realized we had to make money with it, since it became our fulltime job. We believe that is needed if you want to continue the project and really want to make impact. So that is what we did for the last two and a half year, developing it into a real business.

Where do you get your plastics from and how does it work?

We have several sources where we get our plastics from, plastics form different organizations and companies. For example, sometimes we get plastic coins from organizers of festivals, but also plastics from white goods. Besides this, there are also different kinds of plastics we like to work with and we get these from different sources, to be sure we always have some plastics for our production. However most of our projects consist of different collaborations with organizations with who we are trying to create a project that has a closing loop. This means that we make products for a company that also delivers the secondhand plastics. For example we did a project with HEMA. Their old display furniture had to be replaced and now we are using the plastic parts to produce new garbage cans for their headquarters.

Important is that in order to print new products the plastics we use are already separated. Our machine can only process one sort of plastic at the time. There are two reasons for not processing different plastics on the same time. One it is a difficult and very technical process since different kinds of plastics have different melting points, and second; it is not very circular. When two plastics are combined you create a new sort plastic of less quality and it almost impossible to melt and reuse it again.

How do you contribute to a circular Amsterdam, how circular is your process?

In 1,5 year time we have processed around 2000kg plastic, but this could have been more. In theory the machine is able to process three kg per hour. We have developed and built three more printers so we are able to produce four times as much as we did.

All the products our 3D-printer creates can be processed again and can be used to create new products. However this is not an infinite process since it is mechanical recycling what we are doing and this has a technical end. We re-melt the plastics again and again and after seven times the quality is lacking, we cannot longer guarantee the same quality as after the first time. What we can do is create an inferior product for other purposes. Another solution to this problem is adding newer plastics, plastics that are only recycled once or twice.

Why and how would you scale up the process?

Our end game is not only making new products from recycled plastics, but also making impact. In the end we want to share (the technique of) these machines with the rest of the world, trough open source or other ways. Next year we have our first pilot with an entrepreneur abroad. So upscaling, by increasing our production and increasing our revenue is needed to finance further development of our machines. The three machines we just built are already much more improved than the first version of our 3D-printer. In the end this will result in more work for us, but also in propagating our story and making impact.

In order to create more impact we choose to work with clients we believe have more impact on society, luckily for us we have this luxury. So if it is possible we will always chose for the client with a project that, in our opinion, has more impact.

Your question for the community?

We do a lot of pilots, so our projects are really customized and designed for one specific client. Therefore we have start-up costs for every single project. My question for the community is:

“How could we develop a more general model to create scalable projects, without these start-up costs?”

Haitse Kreek, Adviseur Programma Duurzaamheid , posted

Circular Economy Blog #2 - Food waste

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In my last couple of weeks here at Amsterdam Smart City I will present this community a series of interviews on the circular economy with companies here in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area.
In this second post I will introduce you to a company that contributes to one of the building blocks of the City of Amsterdam: to minimize food waste from retail, catering and household.
In a circular economy, food waste should be minimized to avoid the excess production of food and minimize environmental impacts. In the Netherlands we throw away around 105 kg food per capita a year. The company I present today offers a solution to this problem.

I would like to introduce you to Too Good To Go, a Danish company that started in the Netherlands in January 2018. For this interview I spoke to Sharonne. She works as public relations specialist at Too Good To Go for five months now and can tell us everything about it.

For which problem is Too Good To Go a solution and how started it?

Sharonne: 'We are an application for your mobile device and we fight food waste, by bringing people together. On our app companies such as restaurants, supermarkets, bakeries, hotels and other companies are able to sell their daily leftovers. For consumers it is possible to buy these leftovers for a reduced price on our app. On our app, consumers are able to locate companies that offer Magic Boxes and buy these for a fair price. Users of our app purchase a so called Magic Box, with a surprise of products approaching the expiration date.

Actually the concept is really easy and sometimes gives you the feeling of if only I had thought it myself. It all started in Denmark, with four friends that went to a restaurant. They saw that the restaurant had to throw away a lot of food at the end of the day, they asked themselves how they could prevent this. The students asked the restaurant manager that if they thought of something that helps to reduce their food waste if he will join them. This is how the first partnership started and how Too Good To Go was established. Meanwhile Too Good To Go is active in 13 countries and number 14 is upcoming.

We are able to expand this quick because of the win-win-win situation. At Too Good To Go there are always three different winners. Consumers that enjoy a meal for a reduced price, store owners that earn some money from things they otherwise would have thrown away and the environment. The environment is the biggest winner, by saving all meals a lot of CO2 emission is prevented.'

How does it work exactly?

Sharonne: 'If you open the application on your mobile device you get a list or a map which shows you locations that offer their daily leftovers or their excess food. If you have made your choice you can buy a Magic Box and you get a time frame in which you have to pick up the box. First it started as an initiative with stores that offered their Magic Boxes at the end of the day, but now we see that almost every time of the day the boxes are available. In the morning for example you can already pick up a Magic Box from a restaurant around closing time and in between you can see what the local juice bar or bakery offers.

The Magic Box consist of food that approach their expiration date, so the content of a box depends on the time of day, the provider of the box etc.

How do you and your partners contribute to a circular Amsterdam?

Sharonne: 'We get some of our partners indirectly through other partners who told them our app really works, or store owners read about it in the media or used our app themselves, but we also have to do some acquisition. The bigger we get the easier it is for us to show companies that our app really works against food waste and that they can earn a little money for products they would have thrown away otherwise.

We are more than an app, we are a movement against food waste. To reduce food waste it is important to raise awareness among companies. We offer them a simple and accessible solution, the more people join us the more impact we create. Per organization we look at the process, what are they already doing, and try to fit Too Good To Go in to the process. However the concept of Too Good To Go is designed in a way that a store owner can continue its working method.

Together with our partners we just saved our millionth meal in the Netherlands and we are still counting. But this is not the only way we try to contribute. We are known because of the app, but in addition we also want to raise awareness for food waste in general. This is why we launched our movement website, here you can find information and test your knowledge about food waste. But it will also provide teaching material for schools or provide entrepreneurs with political information on food waste. So we try to inspire and raise awareness among consumers and business here in the Netherlands.'

Your question for the community?

'What is your best tip to prevent food waste?'

Make sure you read my first blog here

Haitse Kreek, Adviseur Programma Duurzaamheid , posted

Circular Economy Blog #1 - Introduction

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My name is Haitse and I’m trainee at Provincie Noord-Holland and Amsterdam Smart City. Within the partner program of Amsterdam Smart City I try to bring public, private and knowledge institutions together to create solutions for urban challenges we’re facing today. At Amsterdam Smart City I mainly work on topics related to the circular economy and that is why I wanted to explore what is already happening within the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (AMA) in terms of circular economy.

The Netherlands has the ambitious goal to be fully circular by 2050. But how do companies contribute to this transition towards a circular economy? And what do they need to accelerate this transition? The coming weeks I’ll dive deeper into these questions. Therefore I decided to conduct a series of interviews on the circular economy with companies here in the AMA. This first blogpost will be a short introduction to the circular economy and the high ambitions of the Dutch government.

Circular Economy and the Dutch Ambitions

A circular economy is an economic system where products and services are traded in closed loops or ‘cycles’. A circular economy is characterized as an economy which is regenerative by design, with the aim to retain as much value as possible of products, parts and materials. This means that the aim should be to create a system that allows for the long life, optimal reuse, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling of products and materials. The Dutch Government has the ambition to only use 50% of primary resources in 2030 and to be fully circular by 2050. This is formulated in the program ‘A Circular Economy in the Netherlands by 2050’.

Amsterdam to use the Doughnut economics model

In March this year the City of Amsterdam published the ‘Circular Innovation- and Action Program 2019’ in which is shown what already happens in Amsterdam when it comes to the circular economy. More than 100 projects and programs where indicated and classified. So circular economy is definitely making progress. To build further on everything that is already happening in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, the City of Amsterdam has developed some building blocks towards a new strategy Circular Amsterdam 2020-2050. In order to develop these building blocks the City of Amsterdam collaborated with Kate Raworth, which makes the City of Amsterdam the first city in the world to use the Doughnut economics model.

The Doughnut economics model, different from the current economics models, focuses more on ecological and social values instead of on maximizing growth. The model is named a doughnut because of its shape. The outer layer of the model symbolizes the ecological boarder that cannot be crossed in order to sustain a livable earth. The inner layer of the model represents social values that cannot be violated, otherwise universal human rights will be at stake. As is said before: this might be the only healthy doughnut in the world.

The City of Amsterdam has decided to use this model since they believe that a change of system is needed to become fully circular in 2050. A system where ecological, social and economic values have priority. To become fully circular the City of Amsterdam will focus on upscaling and accelerating of already existing circular projects and therefor it is willing to use all available policy instruments. The Doughnut economic model will help to use this instruments in the best way and to create a holistic view on circular economy, to develop strategic directions and to measure progress. Together with Kate Raworth and Circl Economy the City of Amsterdam developed seventeen different building blocks (directions) within three value chains: construction, biomass and food, and consumer goods. All the seventeen building blocks can be found in the document ‘Building blocks for the new strategy Amsterdam circular 2020-2025’.

What’s next?

The upcoming weeks I will conduct a series of interviews with different companies of our community within the AMA and talk about their role in the circular economy. I will ask them what they are doing to transition the AMA to a circular economy and for which problem(s) they have found a solution. How they think the company is contributing to one of the building blocks or how they will adapt to these blocks. And of course we want to know what they need to scale up their (circular) business.

Do not hesitate to let me know if you have an idea which company/organization I have to have a conversation with. Or if you have a suggestion on which questions I have to ask

Haitse Kreek, Adviseur Programma Duurzaamheid , posted

Bezoek aan Upcyclecentrum Almere

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Upcyclecentrum Almere - Almere stad zonder afval

Op 1 maart heeft Amsterdam Smart City samen met Gerard Wiggers, programma manager grof- en bijzonderafval van de gemeente Amsterdam, het Upcyclecentrum in Almere bezocht. Henk Martens, programma manager Upcyclecentrum, ontving ons om ons in een twee uur durend bezoek uitleg te geven over het centrum en ons rond te leiden.
Het gerealiseerde Upcyclecentrum is een indirect gevolg van het binnen halen van de Floriade door de gemeente Almere. De oude afvalstraat in Almere-Haven langs de A6 moest plaatsmaken voor het verbreden en het verleggen van deze weg. Door het weghalen van de traditionele afvalstraat moest er wel een nieuwe voor in de plaats komen. De gemeente Almere zag dit als een kans om tot een afvalstraat 2.0 te komen en riep een denktank in het leven om een nieuwe duurzame en circulaire afvalstraat te bedenken en uiteindelijk te realiseren. Dit heeft geleid tot het huidige Upcyclecentrum, dat direct naast het toekomstige Floraideterrein gesitueerd is.
Het imposante gebouw, is grotendeels gebouwd van hergebruikte materialen. Zo is de houten buitenschil volledig opgebouwd uit hout van het gesloopte zwembad en sportcentrum en bomen die moesten worden gekapt voor de verbreding van de A6. Het beton dat gebruikt is, is voor 30% gemaakt van hergebruikt betongranulaat en ook de stalen behuizing komt uit het oude zwembad en sportcentrum. Belangrijk detail is dat het Upcyclecentrum modulair is opgebouwd, zodat het uiteindelijk ook gedemonteerd kan worden en de materialen gemakkelijk hergebruikt. Het gebouw is volledig klimaatneutraal, het wekt zijn eigen energie op met de zonnepanelen op het dak en vangt regenwater op waardoor het ook op dit gebied zelfvoorzienend is. Daarnaast is het gehele interieur van het educatie centrum circulair. In totaal heeft het circulair realiseren van het centrum 1,5 miljoen extra, boven op de oorspronkelijk 4 miljoen euro, gekost.
Aan de voorkant van het Upcyclecentrum zitten drie circulaire startups, die in ruil voor het uitdragen van de circulaire boodschap geen huur hoeven te betalen. Deze startups maken nieuwe producten van oude materialen die door de inwoners van Almere op de afvalstraat worden weggegooid. Uiteindelijk is het plan om direct naast het Upcyclecentrum een terrein voor circulaire bedrijven te realiseren, waar deze drie startups naar toe moeten verhuizen. Dit biedt vervolgens de mogelijkheid voor drie nieuwe startups, zich te vestigen in het Upcyclecentrum. Hiermee wordt het Upcyclecentrum een vliegwiel voor de circulaire economie. Hoewel in het bestemmingsplan geen ruimte is voor verkoop aan particulieren, is er samen met de omgevingsdiensten gezocht naar een mogelijkheid dit toch te realiseren. De startups mogen zich wel op de locatie vestigen maar niet verkopen, dit moet op een andere plek of via internet.
De rondleiding, volgend op dit verhaal, geeft inzicht op hoe de verschillende afval stromen worden gescheiden en tijdelijk worden opgeslagen. Ook leidt het ons langs een leegstaande ruimte, die plaats moet gaan maken voor een sociale werkplaats, waar circulaire fietsen geproduceerd moeten gaan worden. Uiteindelijk sluiten we af. Gerard Wiggers heeft het als zeer zinvol ervaren en is naar huis gegaan met nieuwe ideeën voor zijn project in Amsterdam.

Haitse Kreek, Adviseur Programma Duurzaamheid , posted

Provinciale subsidie voor Noord-Hollands MKB

Duurzame innovators opgelet! Noord-Hollandse mkb-bedrijven in de sectoren Energie & Chemie (inclusief Biobased), Agri & Food, Tuinbouw, Water, Creatieve Industrie, Logistiek en Life Sciences & Health kunnen subsidie aanvragen. De provincie Noord-Holland dit jaar €6 miljoen euro beschikbaar voor Noord-Hollandse ondernemers.