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Cluster: Circular economy

Circular economy is a hot topic in Europe and was included in national agendas of Germany and the Netherlands. The EU Green Deal programme is pushing our economy towards more sustainability and less waste, and thus, the re-use of (raw) materials. The "Circular economy action plan" is one of the main building blocks for this programme.

In the Netherlands there is a broad programme "Nederland circulair in 2050" and more concrete the "Uitvoeringsprogramma circulaire economie 2021-2023" which will be updated this year. In Germany, the Nationale Kreislaufwirtschaftsstrategie (20.04.2023) refers to this topic. The strategy is intended to bring together goals and measures for circular economy and resource conservation from all relevant strategies. This creates a framework that brings together the federal government's strategies relevant to raw materials policy in such a way that the goal of the coalition agreement of reducing the primary demand for raw materials in absolute terms is achieved.

In 2022, the Handwerkskammer Münster and Oost NL launched the Interreg project Two4C, to support the successful transition to a circular, resource-efficient economy, to connect cross-border activities and to support SMEs in a practical manner. The focus lies on raising awareness about existing deficits and improvements approaches to develop new business models. The goal is that at least 500 SMEs will be sensitised and motivated to carry out a quick scan to identify the prerequisites for a medium- and long-term circular changeover looking at the possibilities in cross-border business cooperation. From this group, companies can proceed with an intensive specialistic advice on the concrete conversion of their business models, including training and support next to funding to a limited number to implement their circular approach.

This cross-border strategy will focus on specific sectors mentioned in the Two4C project of the Handwerkskammer Münster. In 2022, the Circular Economy Hotspot was already taking place in the IHK district in Bottrop. There are already activities and institutions in place, for instance Transform to Zero im Prosperkolleg, Prosperkolleg, IWARU at the University of Applied Science Münster and Circular Economy in the East Netherlands at Oost.nl

Additionally, the region won two more Circular Economy projects: Circular Performer Emscher-Lippe and Kreislaufwirtschaftsregion Münsterland. Find out more.