Global demand for material resources has tripled since 1970 and is expected to double again between now and 2060. The extraction of these resources and processing them into materials and products, contributes significantly to climate changes, loss of nature and biodiversity, and pollution. A circular economy is about a radically reduced and more efficient use of material resources. It focuses on keeping raw materials longer within the production chain, with the aim of their optimal use and reuse, i.e. with the highest value for the economy and the least impact on the environment.

The Dutch Government intends to achieve a fully circular economy by 2050 and to halve the use of primary abiotic raw materials by 2030. The transition to a circular economy is increasingly taking shape, both in society and with respect to the government. PBL supports this process with various forms of research. We analyse the impact of policy on the environment and the economy, identify opportunities and obstacles for citizens and businesses, and explore which policy instruments could lead to a circular economy.

Work program monitoring and steering circular economy

At the request of the Dutch Government, PBL takes the lead in a national research programme aiming at monitoring and evaluating the progress of the transition to a circular economy. Together with 8 other knowledge institutes, PBL monitors the transition to a fully circular economy in 2050 and progress towards the intermediate goal of halving the use of primary abiotic raw materials by 2030. Each year, these institutes publish several reports, including the bi-yearly Integral Circular Economy Report (ICER), with the aim of monitoring the progress of the transition, evaluating the circular economy policy and providing the government with the knowledge needed to shape or adjust the policy.