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The power of sustainability, digitization and scalability

25 January 2022

As leading partner of From Waste 2 Profit, POM Limburg has a clear vision of the circular economy. Focussing on: sustainability, digitization and scalability. We asked Jorg Roosen, Energy, Circular Economy and Construction Project Manager at POM Limburg, how that will be extended to this project. “It is our ambition to make the Limburg economy circular by 2050”, said Roosen. “We noticed that SMEs do not always recognise sustainability and that it can sometimes look difficult or expensive. However, a sustainable strategy offers competitive benefits. With From Waste 2 Profit, we want to activate and inspire businesses. This inspiration takes place, among other things, with business cases of frontrunner companies. “Because regardless of how you turn or look at it: sustainability must be profitable. We want to prove that this is possible.”

First waste reduction …

No less than 17% of the raw materials used by manufacturing companies end up directly on the waste heap. Since prevention is better than cure, waste reduction is an important topic within From Waste 2 Profit. “Research shows that a waste reduction of 10% in manufacturing companies leads to 2% less expenses. A serious financial winner, because reducing a tenth of your waste is realistic with the right approach,” says Roosen. That is why From Waste 2 Profit offers subsidies for carrying out an audit of waste streams. The result? Not a 200-page theoretical audit report, but indeed a number of concrete action points and suggestions. This can in turn serve as basis to receive a subsidy for a concrete project related to waste optimisation.

… Then matchmaking and valorisation

Not all waste can be avoided. But the waste of the one company could just be the raw materials of the next. That is why a matchmaking tool was created that ensures that waste materials are not wasted but traded between SMEs (is that a good word?). “Apart from From Waste 2 Profit, we also worked on, a project where we identify waste streams of SMEs. And we looked with technologists, designers and business developers how to valorise”, said Roosen. The new From Waste 2 Profit matchmaking tool can build on this knowledge and thus bring the right companies into contact with each other.

Recycle and optimise

It is important in the analysis of waste streams that the entire production chain is examined. Roosen: “And for me, that starts with the design of the product. The better the design, the easier it will be to recycle it again. Think for example about avoiding glue. Or restricting the types of plastic or other materials that it is made of. This must be carefully considered. But on the other side also: using more recycled materials in your products. It comes down to keeping every product as high as possible in the value chain and not letting it relegate too quickly to something inferior.” Specific knowledge is definitely required for this. That is why From Waste 2 Profit works with specialists in this field. And you as SME only need to submit a digital application.

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