To ensure sustainable growth, smarter and more sustainable use will need to be made of our resources. The current system in which we collect raw materials, use them and then discard them, will need to be adjusted. As many resources are scarce, we need to find more environmentally and economically sustainable ways to use them. Businesses also have economic reasons to use their resources and raw materials in the best possible way. Research by research firm TNO (2013) estimated that the total market opportunities for the Netherlands under a more circular economy would be nearly € 7.3 billion a year, approximately 1.4% of GDP.
The circular economy is important for ports because:
Ports function as ‘matchmakers’ that bring both the producing and recycling industries in contact with each other in order to re-use the energy in the chain.
Ports accommodate industries that are active in the treatment, collection and shipment of waste and stimulate the emergence of innovation circles.
Ports are important crossing-points for all kind of waste and industrial flows and act as logistical hubs for the import/export of waste materials. Therefore, they are ideal locations to further develop the circular economy.
The presence of industrial clusters in ports help to facilitate the circular and more sustainable use of waste and resources because they offer the benefit of existing synergies between industries.
To further stimulate the circular economy, the Port of Rotterdam emphasises how crucial it is to recognise the value of waste and residual products. Of course, this should be done without harming public health and the environment. Furthermore, the European Commission should help to create a stable investment climate for businesses in the circular economy by harmonising waste legislation and reducing regulatory inconsistencies. The Port of Rotterdam Authority supports a European approach to waste legislation, for example through the cross-border implementation of the waste hierarchy. Finding a common definition of criteria for end-of-waste and residual products is necessary in order to enable efficient transport and safe use of these resources throughout the European Union. The circular economy will benefit from a decrease in the administrative burden for the transport of ‘waste materials’ within the EU and the reclassification of some substances originating from a production process and not intended for the production of something else by-products and not waste materials.
Please also have a look on the website of the AIVP for a related event:
15TH WORLD CONFERENCE CITIES AND PORTS "CROSSOVERS"