Category Archives: In the media

PET recycling

PET Recycling – supply chain co-operation project

The Burg Group worked together with the NRK (Dutch Plastic Manufacturers Association) and suppliers on a vinegar bottle made from 100% recycled PET.

NRK Berichten, December 2016

Dutch Agreement on Resources paves way to circular economy

On January 24th the Dutch government and 180 parties signed the Agreement on Resources. Partners for Innovation too, was one of the signers.

It is agreed that in 2050 that the Dutch economy is completely ‘circular’. To accomplish this, every party (research institutes, companies, governmental bodies) formulated its own ambitions.

Our mission: closing material cycles

Our mission is to close material cycles by working with partners on:
  • products and packaging that are fully recyclable
  • high value secondary material streams
  • litter prevention
  • products made of recyclable materials (biobased/recycled and in some cases biodegradable)
  • smart technology supporting Circular Economy
  • products and packaging with a positive (environmental) impact

And this is what we do:


  • set up and coordinate circular innovation projects with (chain)partners
  • give CIRCO Design Classes and Business Design Tracks
  • conduct Life Cycle Assessments & Quick scans
  • have written the “Guidelines designing with recycled plastics” and we can support companies in implementing the guidelines
  • carry out surveys and feasibility studies
  • write successful project proposals to obtain financing


Beside signing the Agreement on Resources, Partners for Innovation plays an active role in the creation of the Supply Chain Agreement on Plastics. We work together with partners in the supply chain on appliances for PHA and in another project we are looking for ways to solve the problems in the silicon sealant tubes in the plastics cycle.


Ingeborg Gort-Duurkoop

Related articles

Masterplan on the Plastics Cycle

Masterclass Circular Economy for CEO’s of innovative companies


The Guide to Sustainable Packaging

Designing with recycled Plastics – guidelines


European conference on plastics

Plastics are an integral part of our daily life. They  changed our society fundamentally in the previous century. Being moldable, strong and cheap they present many advantages. However, plastics also pose a number of complex problems.

EU plastics conferentie

Bundling of powers

Opportunities as well as challenges arise around design, sustainablity, collection, recycling, incineration etc. At present we don’t have all the answers to these questions. Reason enough for the Dutch ministry of Infrastructure & Environment to organise an international conference where experts can come together, meet, debate and co-create.

High end products

At the European conference on the 8 th and 9th of December stakeholders from every part of the value chain come together. The main challenge will be to remove barriers and co-create the conditions to close the plastics cycle. Partners for Innovation will host one of the round table discussions on high end products.



Earlier this year the Guidelines Designing with Recycled Plastics came out. The Guidelines inform on different uses of recycled plastics; from the strategic choice to use recycled plastics to marketing and communication to the public. The Guidelines presents some innovative case studies by AKG, Cumapol, Curver, Océ, Philips en Schoeller Allibert.


Read more about:


Ingeborg Gort-Duurkoop

Masterplan on the Plastics Cycle

The collection of plastics is not only a ‘hot topic’ but also a great success. Unfortunately, the recycling is not so straightforward. Worldwide, countries are collecting and recycling plastic waste to make their economy more and more circular. However, every major change brings about a number of challenges.


In the case of the Netherlands, recycled plastics are now only used for low quality products. The goal is to keep the quality of the recycled products as high as possible. Partners for Innovation has written, together with the NRK and partners the Masterplan Plastics Cycle, a vision on the system as a whole.

Economies of scale

A key point of the Masterplan is upscaling. Currently, this is not achieved due to a lack of knowledge in brand owner companies on the possibilities of recycled plastics. Also, the market has not fully integrated recycled plastics yet. In comparison to glass and paper recycling it is still very new. Furthermore, costs and benefits for the environment of recycled plastics in relation to virgin are currently not taken into account.

Chemical recycling

Further research and knowledge exchange is vital if we want to succeed in finding more appliances. The Wageningen University & Research has been involved in the creation of the Masterplan. Programma manager sustainable materials Christiaan Bolck: we have to carry out research into new methods of recycling, like chemical recycling. Bolck’s aim in view is a reuse of plastics of 95%. “We should be able to extract the other 5% from plants.”

Multi-layer plastics

A main glitch in the system is that part of the plastic packaging is very difficult to recycle due to the existence of different layers on top of each other (multi-layer). To tackle this problem we need to look at the design of the packaging. In the future it should not be possible to bring a product or package on the market and not know how it can be recycled and reused.


Download the  Masterplan Kunststof Kringloop   (Dutch)

YouTube films  on  Circular  Plastics

Read more on the  Guidelines   Ontwerpen met kunststof recyclaat (English)

Website of  the  NRK


Chain project breaks through with new way to use recycled plastic

The collection of domestic plastic waste is a big  success in the Netherlands. The challenge now is to realise the same scale in waste processing and recycling. This asks for  new high end uses of recycled plastic.

De Burg Groep and  chain partners have succeeded in bringing a vinegar bottle on the market made of 100% PET plastic (see photo). This was accomplished in an  NRK chain project, in which different partners in the chain worked together to find sustainable solutions. The participant were a material supplier, a producer, a collector, a sorter and a recycler.

Colourless and transparent

A key conclusion is that recycled PET plastic retains most of its value if it’s colourless and transparent. This option is the most workable and therefore could potentially attract the most interested companies. Japanese legislation only allows colourless and transparent bottles on their  market. By making this vinegar bottle De Burg Groep manages an optimal value preservation. After first use the bottles can  be reused for food approved rPET bottles.


In addition, the project group researched an even more ambitious option, whether it would be possible to make a vinegar bottle for non-food application made of recycled PET-trays. PET-trays are a waste stream that is sorted by synthetics sorters since the beginning of 2016. However, a suitable application for this stream hasn’t yet been found.

Next step

Within the limited time of the project parties haven’t been able to process the PET tray material into bottles. The main obstacle is the dirt layer and the lack of dedicated PET trays processing companies. The project partners will continue in a work group to see what the next steps should be. Furthermore, the KIDV will research the potential of recycled PET-trays. They will also look at the design (front of the chain) of PET-trays. A better design would  make them more suitable for recycling.

The project’s key  conclusion: if you want to introduce  a new package, make sure you know how it can be recycled (in practice!).


Ingeborg Gort (Partners for Innovation)

E-commerce: a guide to sustainable packaging

Partners for Innovation has written a guide to sustainable packaging. In this guide you find innovative ideas coming from the Dutch Association for Paper and Board Mills (VNP), the Dutch Enterprise Agency (RVO) and is an e-commerce network with more than 2,200 members who sell products online. All aim  to find sustainable solutions for the current packaging industry.

Green packaging in e-commerce. Read in the guide about:

  • sustainable packaging materials
  • sustainable packaging design
  • innovation & best practices

The guide will be presented by Siem Haffmans at the EMPACK in Brussels 21 & 22 of September.

Download the  guide sustainable packaging

A powerboat that doesn’t leave a trace

Clean, fast and style are the key words that describe the new electric powerboat developed by Edorado Marine. In their Edorado 7S project, they present a sustainable alternative for conventional combustion engine driven powerboats. By realizing the scaled prototype, the zero emissions company from the Netherlands is one step closer to fulfilling its ambition.  A complete system needed for fast electric power boating including (fast) charging.

Energy dock

To make an electric vehicle, you cannot simply swap the combustion engine for an electric one. In the Edorado 7S project, not only a motorboat is being developed that is fully based on electric propulsion but alongside a solar energy dock in which the boat charges. And next to that, specially designed software to manage essential use features and facilitate time-sharing.

Eco design

Partners for Innovation assists Edorado in acquiring funding for the project and has provided input in the development stage from the perspective of eco design principles. These principles ensure that the environmental impact of the speedboat will be as low as possible.


Peter Karsch

Edorado: Godert van Hardenbroek:

Read the news item about electric driving: The cost of electric vehicles is an undeserved bump in the road

Choices in a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) – a case study of paper recycling

Using a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)  has many benefits. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the results of a LCA are determined by the choices the researcher makes. These choices affect indicators, functional unit, allocation and system boundaries. Especially in the circular economy, with its innovations involving recycling, reuse and circular design, LCAs can be quite complex.

An interesting example  of how we need to treat Life Cycle Assessment results very carefully, is the comparison of the life cycles of paper (or board) products produced from virgin and recycled fibres.

An “odd” conclusion

Around 2009 there was an interesting discussion in the Netherlands about a report that compared the environmental impact of different packaging materials. In this report, the CO2 emission over the life cycle of virgin based paper products appeared to be lower than those of recycled fibre based products. To many, this result seemed rather counter-intuitive and asked for further research.

In order to determine whether or not virgin fibre based products had a lower environmental impact, I performed a study together with Jobien Laurijssen. We created an Excel model to map the mass flows and energy use of the main production processes of different paper production routes in detail.

CO2 vs energy footprint

This study demonstrated the huge benefits in terms of energy use over the total life cycle, by using recovered fibre instead of virgin fibres. The main reason was that the energy required to convert wood into pulp for papermaking, is very large, whereas turning recovered paper into pulp on the other hand requires very little energy (note that the quality of the fibres of virgin pulp differs significantly from recovered paper pulp).

What is interesting from a CO2 emission perspective, is that when wood is converted into pulp using chemical pulping, the process, although incredibly energy intensive, does not emit much CO2. The reason for this is that it uses mostly bio-energy to fuel its energy needs. Wood consists partly of cellulose, hemi-cellulose and lignin. In chemical pulping, only the cellulose is extracted and the rest is burned for energy recovery. This way, you emit virtually no net CO2 emissions because you use bio-fuel. This means that for every tree, you are only using half its mass to produce paper, while using the other half to produce bio-energy.

Different outcome

At the end of the life-cycle, the used paper can be either recycled or incinerated (let’s assume the paper is not landfilled). When assuming that the paper is incinerated for energy recovery, you can argue that this saves CO2 emissions by saving fossil fuels. When recycling the paper on the other hand, one cannot allocate such CO2 savings due to energy recovery. This also reduces the CO2 emissions of virgin fibre paper products in comparison  to using recovered fibres.

As you can see, although intuitively it may seem clear that recycling of paper is beneficial to the environment over using virgin fibres, when you compare the CO2 footprints the results may show a different outcome, depending on the system boundaries that you take into account. From an energy perspective, there is not much discussion, since recycling of paper saves you that highly energy intensive process of turning wood into pulp. But when it comes down to CO2 emissions, the LCA interpretation becomes much more complex.

Expand the system boundaries

So how can we solve this dilemma? Our research shows that a good solution is to expand the boundaries of the LCA system, and include wood as a resource that has to be used in equal amounts in both the production of paper and board from virgin fibres and recycled fibres. If you assume the “saved” wood due to recycling of recovered paper, for direct energy conversion, then the research of Jobien Laurijssen and me clearly shows that using recovered fibres has a much lower environmental impact than using virgin fibres.

Read 3 ways a LCA makes your company more profitable 


Marc Marsidi (paper & board industry)

Thomas Dietz (LCA)

Siem Haffmans (LCA / sustainable packaging)



Circular Economy receives Royal attention

The Economic Mission during the State Visit of Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima on 10 and 11 March focused on “Circular Economy”. During the state visit, a special publication on the Circular Economy was presented to Queen Maxima by delegation leader Jan Jonker.

Closing the loop for plastics
In honor of the state visit to France, 28 Dutch authors published a total of 30 columns on the Circular Economy. Colleague Siem Haffmans was invited to write one column about ‘closing the loop for plastics’. The columns have been translated into French and published in a special bilingual book.

The book inspires and contributes to relevant discussions about a different economy, sustainability and transition. This unique book is not on the market but there are still a few copies that can be ordered through the website of Prof. Dr. Jan Jonker.

NRK Netwerk, 2015-4

Joining forces for growth of market for recycled plastics

The Guidelines Recycled Plastics and Caseguides take producers by the hand.

The Guidelines are initiated and produced by Philips and Partners for Innovation, in co-operation with six frontrunners: Philips, Océ, Curver, Schoeller Allibert, AKG and Cumapol.

December, 2015, NRK Netwerk 2015-4 (pdf in Dutch)