Article from Groninger Ondernemers Courant, December 2022
Less waste, new business and a sustainable, clean world. The circular economy offers plenty of opportunities for the manufacturing industry. Ecoras is holding a Circo Demo: Especially for companies based in Southeast that want to take advantage of these opportunities, there will be the CIRCO Track program early next year. “We will work with entrepreneurs to find ways to make their product, service or business model as circular as possible,” states Bert Hoefsloot of the Groningen company Ecoras in the latest edition of the physical GROC.
During the CIRCO Track program, participants are introduced to circular economy and the benefits it can bring to a company. “The term ‘circular economy’ is sometimes just an abstract catch-all term for entrepreneurs,” Hoefsloot knows from practice. “People are rather inclined to think that a circular economy requires large and costly interventions, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, circular is also about practical matters such as less use of paper, cleaner transport and reuse of all kinds of waste.” As such, the program is not simply idealistic. “On the contrary. The CIRCO Track leads to a new (circular) business model for the entrepreneur that succinctly describes how the company creates, delivers and retains value.” A CIRCO Track consists of three half-day meetings, with each participant working on their own product(s). “Together with the trainer, the participants look for circular opportunities,” says Hoefsloot, who organizes the program together with colleague and CIRCO trainer Micha Klaarenbeek. This includes looking at value destruction and waste in the production process, as well as the raw materials used. “Because which raw materials can be replaced for a more sustainable alternative?” Broadening the range of services – “for example, by also offering repairs” – and reusing used products are also possibilities.
Value of wood as residual waste
Especially when it comes to recycling waste, there are a lot of opportunities, according to a recent study by Stec and New Economy, commissioned by the municipality and province of Groningen, among others. The researchers mapped the waste streams of 15 industrial sites in the province and also looked at the economic potential of the waste. As an example, Hoefsloot points to wood as residual waste. “That generates about 580 euros per 1,000 kilograms. But potentially a ton of wood, after processing or reuse, could also yield over 1,400 euros,” he cites the researchers’ figures.
According to Hoefsloot, there are plenty of arguments for companies to sign up for the program. “First of all, as a company you contribute in this way to a more sustainable and livable world,” Hoefsloot says. But circular business is also economically attractive. “Selling waste or reusing it yourself in another product creates new business. Moreover, the prices of energy as well as raw materials have risen considerably recently, so that also makes reuse attractive.”
Signing up for CIRCO Demo
For interested companies, there will be an introductory meeting, the Circo Demo for the Circo Track, on Tuesday, Jan. 31 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. The Circo Demo will provide an opportunity to learn about the program and explain what circular economy can concretely bring to the company. Register for the CIRCO Demo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CIRCO-Track program is a joint initiative of Economic Affairs of the municipality of Groningen, business association Southeast and Ecoras. The municipality intends to eventually roll out the initiative municipality-wide and offer it to multiple types of industries. Not without reason: the municipality aims to achieve a fully circular economy, across all sectors.
What does CIRCO deliver in concrete terms? Be sure to check out www.circonl.nl/cases for the stories of former CIRCO participants!