124 million for handling circular plastic

The cabinet has finally approved the first phase of Circular Plastics NL and invests 124 million euros from the Growth Fund. With the implementation of Circular Plastics NL, the government, companies and knowledge institutions are making an effort to achieve the circularity goals of recycling 50% of all plastic by 2030. They also aim for less plastic to go to waste incineration.

With Circular Plastics NL, the parties fight climate change, reduce the use of fossil raw materials and reduce environmental pollution. This will strengthen the Netherlands’ sustainable earning capacity.


Circular Plastics NL is an initiative from the MaterialenNL platform submitted to the National Growth Fund by the Ministry of Economy and Climate. The initiative has been established in collaboration with the National Plastics Recycling Platform (NPPR). From this platform, a consortium of more than 150 partners has been created, consisting of universities, applied universities, knowledge institutions such as TNO, small and medium-sized enterprises, multinational companies, start-ups and social organizations.

Ardi Dortmans, scientific director of Circular Economy and Environment at TNO, is proud of the way the national plastics field has organized itself and has thus been able to convince the Growth Fund Committee of the strength of the collaboration between companies, knowledge parties and the government: “I am happy about the role TNO coming to play in the system integration program and with the strengthening of our collaboration with Brightlands Chemelot Campus. It gives us confidence that in the coming years we will be able to build a fully circular plastics industry for the future of our children with all our partners.”

The investment of 124 million euros is for the programs starting in 2023 and 2024. A total of 220 million euros has been reserved by the government for the entire eight-year program. This amount is doubled by industry and other stakeholders in the circular plastic chain.

Programs and pillars for renewing materials and processes

Circular Plastics NL develops various programs and pillars to realize material and process innovations for circular plastics and thus work towards 100% circularity in 2050 (Råvareaftaelen) – and seize economic opportunities. Not only are current circuits closed, for example, but new materials are also developed that can replace materials that are difficult to recycle in the future.

The programs and pillars are:

  • System integration of circular plastics
  • Circular plastic design
  • Characterize, sort and wash
  • Industrialization of plastic recycling
  • Brightlands Circular Space

A decision support model

In Circular Plastics NL’s system integration program, a decision support model is designed for modeling scenarios. Social themes such as life cycle assessment, costs, business models, behaviour, microplastics, regulations and policy, logistics and recycling quality are included in this. This model gives direction to the circular plastic transition and ensures the right investments in innovation in the growth fund.

Design, characterize, sort & wash and recycle

The program lines ‘Design of circular plastics’, ‘characterization, sorting and washing’ and ‘industrialisation of plastic recycling’ ensure technological innovation and scale-up, where bottlenecks in the chain are tackled.

Effective and inclusive ecosystem and nursery

Brightland’s Circular Space program line invests in facilities to accelerate scale-up from design to reuse. Together, the programs form the foundation for an efficient and inclusive ecosystem for circular plastics. In addition, there is a nursery for developing innovative disruptive technology for the next generation of circular plastics.

Display cabinets

Within the pillars, there is a great deal of attention to chain cooperation. In connection with this collaboration, ten showcases have been defined that focus on a material and/or an application. Read more about the display windows.

David Pappie, Director of Top Sectors & Industrial Policy in the Ministry of Economy & Climate: “With this proposal, the Growth Fund is investing in the necessary innovation and upscaling of circular plastic. A great opportunity for the Netherlands to link this social challenge to the strengths of Dutch knowledge institutions and the chemical industry. I look forward to bringing a circular plastic ecosystem in the Netherlands a big step closer together with the consortium.”

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