Category Archives: Product Innovation

CIRCO Circular Business Design track: bioplastics

Do you want to contribute to the circular production and use of plastics in the Netherlands? Do you want to discover what opportunities there are for your company in the application of bioplastics together with other companies in the chain? If so, sign up for the CIRCO Circular Business Design Track!

The Circular Business Design Track consists of three workshops of a day that take place on 26 April, 23 May and 6 June. The track is aimed at companies in the plastics chain that produce, process, (want to) apply, use, collect, compost or recycle bioplastics.

The first workshop of the track introduces you to the possibilities of circular entrepreneurship and design (initiate). In the second session, you will explore opportunities for your own business (ideate). Finally, the first concrete steps are taken in the development of new products, services and business models (implement).

More information

Packaging awards 2018

The NL Packaging Awards will be presented on March 15, 2018 at the mediapark in Hilversum. The awards are intended for excellences in innovation, technology, creativity and entrepreneurship throughout the packaging industry.

A jury of experts evaluated the 163 entries and announced the nominees in 12 categories. Siem Haffmans is chairman of the jury in the categories ‘innovative packaging and packaging materials’ and ‘transport and shelf ready packaging (SRP)’.

Read more about the NL Packaging Awards

Presentatie transitieagenda’s

Presentatie transitieagenda’s op 15 januari 2018

Nederland circulair in 2050. Die ambitie is neergezet door het kabinet in het Rijksbrede programma ‘Nederland Circulair in 2050’ en door de maatschappelijke partners en meer dan 350 ondertekenaars onderschreven in het Grondstoffenakkoord.

Met dit Grondstoffenakkoord is de basis gelegd voor de ontwikkeling van vijf transitieagenda’s: Biomassa & Voedsel, Kunststoffen, Maakindustrie, Bouw en Consumptiegoederen. In de agenda’s staan voorstellen die de omslag naar een circulaire economie versnellen.

Op 15 januari worden de transitieagenda’s gepresenteerd en aangeboden aan de bewindspersonen, de voorzitters van de maatschappelijke partners en alle andere ondertekenaars van het Grondstoffenakkoord. De opstellende partners van het Grondstoffenakkoord (VNO-NCW, MKB Nederland, FNV, VCP, Stichting Natuur & Milieu, VNG, IPO, Unie van Waterschappen en Rijksoverheid) vertellen aansluitend over de vervolgstappen.

Tijdens de bijeenkomst wordt ook de Circular Award uitgereikt. Dit is een verkiezing voor innovatieve projecten, producten of ondernemingen die tot de verbeelding spreken en laten zien wat een circulaire economie kan betekenen voor Nederland.

We verzoeken u de datum van 15 januari in uw agenda te reserveren. Vanaf 14:00 uur bent u van harte welkom in de Fokker Terminal, Binckhorstlaan 249, te Den Haag.

Meer informatie: Nederland Circulair!


Circular plastic building materials

Groothuisbouw is an innovative builder using prefabrication to produce custom build houses. The company is a frontrunner in the building industry.

Groothuisbouw located in Emmeloord is a company that constructs houses using an industrialised system and customer specifications. Using a collection of property types, customers can chooses their preferred version even down to the level of rooftiles and gables. These houses are constructed (prefab) at their own production location and can be build within 3 days at the prepared site.

Groothuisbouw uses traditional materials, like wood and stone. They would like to know whether plastics would be a suitable alternative.  And what this would mean both for the sustainability impact of the houses and their own production process. The advantages of plastics compared to traditional building materials are the low weight, the isolating properties, the slight maintenance, the possibilities for integration and the possibility to use recycled plastics.

To make the possibilities viable for  Groothuisbouw and to develop prototypes,  we have set up a chain project. In this project an architect, a producer of roof duct systems, an injection moulder, an extrusion company, a composite producer,  a producer of isolation material, a plastic collector and a plastic recycler.  Together these companies created several new and unexpected product ideas. The possibilities seemed to be endless.  Three of these ideas have been developed into prototypes. The accompanying energy and environmental impact, compared to traditional products, has been calculated using an LCA. The positive impact turned out to be major.

The thee products 

  • Composite dormer, using polyester resin with glass fiber and a gelcoating with zinc powder. Less maintenance, installation costs and materials;

Smit Composite has developed a composite dormer with a higher fluid and crack density than a traditional wooden dormer.  The lifetime is prolonged and the installation is easier. The gelcoating gives the dormer a luxurious appearance. Groothuisbouw intends to market the new dormer as an exclusive product and aims to have six models in their showroom soon.  Our preliminary LCA shows that this composite dormer lowers the CO2 impact with 21 % during production and use compared to the traditional wooden alternative.

  • Composite chimney, replacing bricks and a steel frame with a lightweight composite structure and sawn stone strips creating a sightly finish. The stone cover plate was also replaced with a composite look-a-like. 

Smit Composite has designed and developed a new chimney, which is 71% lighter than a traditional chimney.  Smit used a composite structure,  outlined with sawn stone strips that can replace the steel frame and bricks.The stone cover plate was also replaced with a composite alternative. No LCA has been conducted for this chimney.

  • Integrated cornice, using one piece of recycled pvc to create the fascias and trim. Meaning less production and installation costs.

For the third project  Profextru has researched a cornice of recycled PVC. This PVC was orginally used for PVC window frames.  By using  injection moulding it was possible to create a cornice in one part and to integrate different functions. This saves maintenance and installation costs. Als the weight is much lower than that of a wooden cornice.  Groothuisbouw researches the possible production volume, with this information Profextru can decide whether this cornice will be viable for their production facilities. The provisional LCA shows that a plastic cornice lowers the CO2 emission with 35% when compared to the wood alternative.

Advantages of a chain project

A product development approach involving the valuechain means that knowledge and ideas from different angles are shared. Using a (circular) chain approach, forces you to have an intergral look at solutions and prevents incomplete solutions that turn out to be problematic at the end of the first operational phase of a project. This practical approach means producers have greater understanding of the impact of their design and suppliers gain insight in the possiblities.

Groothuisbouw can now bring the new solutions to market.  Valuale contacts have been made and knowledge was shared, even with parties that did not take part in the sessions. Moreover this project has led to a publication:  the Dutch magazine Netwerk van de Nederlandse kunststofindustrie published two pages on this project (June 2017).

Advantages for the construction industry

This project is not just about new knowledge for Groothuisbouw and its partners; it is an example for creating value in the (often) traditional building industry.  For example by working together with an adjoining sector, such as the plastics industry.  By breaking the invisible borders between sectors, new opportunities arise to work more efficient, precise and sustainable.

Like to learn more?

Contact: Ingeborg Gort

This chain project was done with support of  

* Participants in this project:

  • Groothuisbouw, builder
  • Ubbink, producer of plastic roof products
  • Profextru, developer of eco-friendly products made from recycled plastic
  • Omefa, plastic injection moulding
  • Smit Composite, producer plastic composite products
  • Isobouw, producer isolating building products
  • Van Gansewinkel, waste operator;
  • QCP, supplier plastic compounds from post-consumer waste;
  • Bureau SLA en Overtreders W, architects experienced in applying recycled plastics
  • NRK, federatie Nederlandse kunststof en rubberindustrie
  • Innovatielink, MKB steunpunt Topsector Chemie (initiator of the project)



Circular plastic building materials – a world of opportunities

An innovative builder from Emmeloord was interested to learn whether applying plastics could help them in building more sustainable homes. And they wanted to know what this would mean for their production process.

To make the possibilities viable for  Groothuisbouw and to develop prototypes,  Partners for Innovation have set up a chain project. In this project an architect, a producer of roof duct systems, an injection moulder, an extrusion company, a composite producer,  a producer of isolation material, a plastic collector and a plastic recycler.

Together these companies created several new and unexpected product ideas. The possibilities seemed to be endless.  Three of these ideas have been developed into prototypes: a dormer, a chimney and a cornice.  Partners for Innovation has also calculated the accompanying energy and environmental impact using our LCA-tool. The positive impact, compared to traditional products, turned out to be major. Moreover the composites alternatives have a longer lifespan, are easier to manufacture and require less maintenance.

The partners in this project will continue to work together to get this products to the market. The domers can already be admired in the Groothuisbouw showroom.

Want to learn more?


Vietnam in the Spotlight

Vietnam ontwikkelt zich tot een land met vele kansen en een aantrekkelijk ondernemersklimaat. Nederland is koploper op het gebied van duurzaamheid en circulaire economie.

Dit seminar organiseren wij in samenwerking met Evofenedex en CREM op donderdag 7 december 2017.

Doel is om alle do’s en don’ts over ondernemen in Vietnam op een rijtje te zetten. Er is speciale aandacht voor de circulaire economie.

Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO) is de opdrachtgever voor de Nederlandse Ambassade in Vietnam, die hiermee het Nederlands bedrijfsleven wil ondersteunen.

Voor meer informatie en om u aan te melden, zie de volgende link:


Recycled plastics in electronics: from individual pilots to industry collaboration

Ten companies in the electronics sectors, together with the two trade associations Digital Europe and CECED, gathered in September for a two days’ workshop.  Goal of this workshop was to formulate concrete projects to use more recycled plastics in electronic appliances. All parties agree that the market for recycled plastics will get a boost when electronics producers increase the use of these plastics in their products. Industry collaboration can help speed up this development. The workshop in Brussels boosted this cooperation. 

“We already have projects on recycled plastics. We started back in 2010 by introducing more and more recycled plastics” Eelco Smit, sustainability manager of Philips explains. “Now we want to take this to the next level. We are too small to make a big change ourselves: we can only make a change if we get critical mass.”The collaborative workshop, bringing together several electronics producers, electronic collectors, virgin producers and recyclers, gives companies the opportunity to learn from each other and work together to achieve industry wide collaboration. [1]

Different material properties

Why are recycled plastics not reused for new electronics yet? Often this is related to the material properties of the recycled material. These are not the same as the properties of virgin material. This means electronic producers need to test all recycled materials for all different product groups – a time consuming process. In addition, the designers working for brand owners do not always know how to design with recycled materials. And even if they do have this knowledge, high quality recycled materials are not always available in large quantities. The bigger electronics brands such as BSH (Bosch Siemens) and Philips prefer to work with large suppliers. Recyclers, on the other hand, face the challenge to produce a high quality and high value material at a competitive price. This involves large investments in machines needed to separate the different plastics from each other. The recyclers deal with a mixed materials supply stream, as many product types (e.g. washing machines together with tumble dryers, dishwashers, cookers, etc) are collected together.

What’s next?

During the workshop participants shared their knowledge, evaluated their supply chains and created new ideas how to make this more circular. Subsequently, they worked together on solutions for the current challenges. This resulted in five project proposals. A group of workshop participants agreed to work on an educational tool “Design for Recycling” in order for designers to get more in-depth knowledge on working with different recycled materials. Another group worked on a project proposal related to standardization of recycled plastics, whereas another group focused on improving the collection and recycling of filled PP(polypropylene) from washing machines. The participants will be invited again to follow up on the progress in the projects. One thing is clear: all parties are highly motivated to close the plastics loop. As Gisela Lehner from Borealis stated: “Plastics is too valuable to throw away, we want to be part of the second life of plastics.” To be continued…

More information? contact Marjolein van Gelder or Ingeborg Gort.

[1] Present at the workshop were CECED, Digital Europe, Ricoh, Technicolor, Philips, BSH Hausgeräte GmbH, Eco-systèmes, Recupel, Coolrec, MBA Polymers, Urban Mining Corp and  Borealis.

Using the SDGs to assess projects’ sustainability impact

At Partners for Innovation we want  to contribute to a more sustainable world. In order to realise this potential it is important to assess the impact of our projects.

The question is therefore, to what extent do the projects we work on contribute to the realisation of a sustainable society? Despite the fact that there are many initiatives in impact assessment of partial aspects, the question still is how much the contribution is on the whole.

The SDGs, the result of extensive negotiations within the UN, are aimed to work globally on  sustainable development. When the impact is expressed in terms of SDGs there are two main benefits:

  • First, it will give us a broad view of the impact of projects on all sustainability aspects.
  • Second, it can bridge the gap between efforts of private firms and companies to public ambitions.
The goal of this research is to develop a tool which one can use to express project impact in the terms of the SDGs. This will be done using a set of indicators which are based on the definitions of the SDGs, existing impact assessment initiatives and possibly newly developed indicators.
Finally, the tool will be used in the research for four existing projects to test its validity. We are open to all suggestions and ideas that will enhance this research and bring it to a higher level.


More information?


If you would like to know more about the applicability of the tool for your own project or have any suggestions, please contact Wouter or Elke.


How the silicone cartridge enlightened us

How can a relatively small problem provide great insights? The participant members of the silicone cartridge  project can answer this question. They worked together to tackle the problem of the disposed cartridges. The disposal and recycling of the  cartridges that are (nearly) empty are not  straightforward: they end up in the household plastic packaging through a number of ways and this stands in the way of a recycling process that is sustainable for the future.

All links in the chain

With twelve participant parties joining, every company in the supply chain was represented. And this is key to success: in order to improve a process that covers so many links in the chain, results are likely to fail if one link is missing. Once you get all of them around the table (producer, supplier, wholesaler, waste collector, waste sorter, recycler etc.) you can actually start to imagine results at the end of the line.

Contents vs. packaging

The silicone cartridge itself is not the problem, the leftover contents are. Many of the disposed cartridges  still contain bits of glue and they can obstruct the machines. By establishing this, an important conclusion is: not the packaging should determine the way of disposal but its contents.

Despite the increased cooperation on a European level, the disposal of silicone cartridge differs by country. Therefore one of the recommendations is: set up a research on how cartridges  are disposed of in Belgium and in Germany. The results of this research could help develop a uniform model for disposal in Europe.

Symbols & watermark

Home improvement stores in the Netherlands have asked their suppliers to apply a waste symbol on the packaging. This symbol informs the buyer – either professional or DIY – on how to dispose of the cartridges.

Another solution coming out of the project is applying a watermark on the packaging. The watermark would cover the whole surface of the packaging in order for it to be picked up by a scanner, even when it’s only partly visible on the conveyor belt. Using a watermark could not only prove helpful for the silicone cartridge but also for other purposes, like separating food from non food.

A waste symbol is information for the customer, a watermark is information for the waste sorting companies. It wouldn’t even be visible for the customer. Thinking ahead, symbols and watermarks can be used for marketing and logistics purposes, too.


Working together on an improved disposal of silicone cartridges shows us how useful it can be to experiment. Trial and error are essential for innovation. In a project setting where all stakeholders play their part, there’s room for transparency and open communication. Results (whether failure or success) are shared and are there for everyone to see.

The findings coming out of this project go beyond the high tack market. TUSTI, a recycling company, conducted an experiment to see whether it’s possible to remove the leftover bits of glue from the cases (see report). Den Braven (sealant producer) placed, together with its suppliers, a watermark on their cases to participate in a sorting experiment by TOMRA and P&G (see PETCycle project).

Silicone cartridges in a circular economy

The silicone cartridge project is part of the broader ambition to close the loop of plastics. The final report “Silicone cartridges in a Circular Economy” (Dutch) is the result of the chain project at the request of the Chain Agreement Plastics Cycle and the Waste Funds Packaging. The idea of this project was put forward by Michiel Westerhoff (Circulus Berkel) in the steering committee of the Chain Agreement Plastics Cycle and is carried out by Partners for Innovation.

  • More information

– The report with conclusions & recommendations (Dutch)

– The report  “Recycling of sealant tubes”

-Website Kunststofkringloop  (Dutch)

-Website PETcycle project  (English)

  • Project Participants

QCP (Quality Circular Polymers), SUEZ, VWDHZ (Vereniging Winkelketens Doe Het Zelf), Circulus-Berkel, Den Braven Holding B.V., Afvalfonds Verpakkingen, Nedvang, Vereninging Lijmen en Kitten VLK, LCKVA (Learning Centre Kunststof Verpakkingsafval), KIDV (Kennisinstituut Duurzaam Verpakken), TUSTI, Filigrade, Fischbach, Partners for Innovation, Ketenakkoord Kunststofkringloop. ·

  • Contact

Ingeborg Gort


CIRCO Circular Design Class

Are you curious about the circular economy and what your role as a designer will be in a circular world? Would you like to apply circular packaging design principles in your work, but does putting them into practice seem difficult?  

If so, we would like to invite you to participate in the Circular Design Class on the 21st of September! 

During this one day course you will be taught the principles of circular design, practice their practical application and gain insight into your role as a designer in developing circular products and services.

The contents of the training are based on the research and book ‘Products that Last’’ (TU Delft) by associate professor Conny Bakker, who will expound on the design strategies and business models that are described in them. In addition you will work with practical examples of frontrunners in the industry.

More information: clicknl