The transition to a circular bio-economy is essential for a sustainable future. A circular bio-economy uses fewer natural resources, has lower emission levels, and will improve the nature-inclusivity and biodiversity of the food system compared to the current systems.
Towards a circular bio-economy
Wageningen University & Research shapes the circular bio-economy through the 'Connected Circularity' programme. In collaboration with farmers, industry, government and other stakeholders, we are working to make the transition towards a circular bio-economy as concrete as possible.
The circular bio-economy is based on three leading principles:
- Our circular food systems are built on plant-based biomass obtained from land and water
- Byproducts from plant-based biomass, known as waste flows, are to be avoided. If this is impossible, they must be redirected back into the bio-economy, with healthy soil as a priority. Furthermore, they can be used as biomaterials or cattle feed
- The function and role of animals is to return biomass that is unsuited for human consumption into the food system
Transferring to a circular bio-economy cannot be done without significant changes, on all fronts. For example, it is currently prohibited to process food waste into animal feed. In order for this to be possible, innovations are needed to allow this processing to be done safely, and a change in legislation is required.
Small wins are essential in speeding up the transition to a circular bio-economy. Relatively small changes can propel the system forward. Examples include bicycle lanes of lignin, the Green mineral plant, and bakery waste processed into animal feed.
In our programme, we work on four so-called flagship projects:
Flagship 1 will design alternative scenarios for the future of a biobased economy in the Netherlands and will map the ecological and economic consequences of these scenarios.
In Flagship 2, we develop a tool that allows us to assess the safety of products. In a circular system, we still need our food and other products to meet safety requirements.
In Flagship 3, we study and learn from successful and failed circularity projects.
Flagship 4 is all about 'Circularity by Design'. In collaboration with parties in Amsterdam, we design solutions for urban challenges.
Contribute to the circular bio-economy
A transition towards the bio-economy requires research that has been carried out in collaboration with relevant parties. This is why working together with everyone involved in shaping the circular bio-economy is essential to tackle the challenges of this transition; we must find answers together.
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