Tag Archives: sustainable innovation

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.


Partners for Innovation enters fourth year of audits in EU biofuels industry

The demand for biofuels has rapidly increased over the years. Regulations on fossil fuels have become stricter and companies take on opportunities for sustainable alternatives.

European biofuel companies typically produce renewable fuel from waste such as used cooking oil, animal fat and waste oils of vegetable oil refineries. Some also produce renewable fuel from commercially available vegetable oils.

olive oil

Since 2013 Control Union Certifications and Partners for Innovation work together to verify if European biofuel companies comply with the requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

The RFS program is a US program aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide robust and achievable growth of the biofuels industry. The program is part of the US Energy Policy Act of 2005 and expanded under the US Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Companies that produce biofuel need 3-yearly updates of engineering reviews to be able to export their biofuels to the US.  Control Union’s inspection and certification services are globally recognised.


Peter Vissers p.vissers@partnersforinnovation.com

Thomas Dietz t.dietz@partnersforinnovation.com

Loek Verwijst (Control Union Certifications) 

More information


CUC website 

US EPA RFS website

MIT Edorado

Dutch company Edorado Marine is aiming to become the Tesla  of boating, with a  design  that  will make high-speed electric boats more affordable and reliable.

The Edorado 7S will be powered by an all-electric system, combined with hydrofoils – blades that project into the water and help reduce drag by lifting the vessel as it speeds up – to make the boat  more efficient.  The  Edorado 7S will be powered by a rechargeable battery.


The Edorado 7S is the product of a two-year project by a multidisciplinary team of designers and engineers that was funded by MIT, a Dutch Innovation program for SMEs. Partners for Innovation helped secure this funding, advised on eco design and was actively involved  in the project management.

Edorado Marine  intends for the boat to be the first in a fleet of designs that aim to make electric boats faster, more reliable and more cost-effective. 


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) i.gort@partnersforinnovation.com

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 p.karsch@partnersforinnovation.com

Edorado: Godert van Hardenbroek: godert@edoradomarine.com


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

Conference on female entrepreneurship in Niger

Managing Director of Partners for Innnovation Niger, Rakiatou Gazibo, will give a speech on september the 17th at a conference of the Council of Nigerans in France (Conseil des Nigériens de France) in Paris. The conference revolves around  female intrepreneurs who want to start a new business.

On the side lines

Many talented women are apprehensive to start their own business or  merely operate on the side lines. At the conference, women are invited to share their experiences and they can get constructive comments on their ideas and current activities. The Council envisions a dynamic female community and further cooperation with parties concerned.

Entrepreneurs in Niger

Rakiatou Gazibo is an expert in agriculture, livestock and food science entrepreneurship. She promotes rural entrepreneurship -including agroforestry- in smallholder livelihoods, establishing links between both entrepreneurs, government services and financiers. Her activities have a particular concern for women and youth.

Improve the financial position

The event wants to be the springboard for women who have entrepreneurial ambitions. To support them financially, the Council will provide funding in order to enhance women’s financial position.


Read more about the conference on female entrepreneurship in Niger (French) http://www.conif-niger.fr/femmes-prennent-parole/

Contact  Rakia Gazibo (Partners for Innovation)

Read more on:

CoNif en JNF (Journee de la Femme des Nigerienne)

Oxfam Novib project Agroforestry Gardens in Niger


How to get your sustainable innovation to the market?

How to get your sustainable innovation to the market? This is what Partners for Innovation discussed on Wednesday the 3rd of February 2016, with companies from the paper and board sector. The discussion took place at the “International Innovation Event for Paper and Board Value Chains”, organised by the Centre of Competence Paper and Board (KCPK), VNP and Wereld van Papier.

Subsidies for demonstration projects and market research
There has been significant technological progress in the Dutch paper and board industry regarding the use of alternative fibres (grass, tomato sterns) and the conversion of side streams into valuable products as bio-plastics, alginates. These technologies are now ready for upscaling in demonstration projects. Partners for Innovation discussed with these companies the possibilities to use local or European subsidies (LIFE+, H2020, DEI, EFRO) to set-up such demonstration projects or to do market research and work out the business cases in more detail (H2020 SME, MIT). 

Life cycle assessment (LCA) and circular product development
Food and flower packaging that extends the expiration date, printed electronics and (even more) sustainable books, the innovations with paper and board as base material continues to grow. Partners for Innovation discussed with these companies how the positive impact on the environment of these innovations can be determined and marketed with an LCA. Also the design of these innovations was taken in account and how it can be improved, so it can be “up” cycled at the end of its life-time; circular product development.

More information? Please contact Marc Marsidi