Circular Plastics NL

124 million for the first phase of Circular Plastics NL


The Dutch government has given the first phase of Circular Plastics NL its final approval, and is investing EUR 124 million in it from the Growth Fund. With the implementation of Circular Plastics NL, the government, businesses, and knowledge institutions are striving to meet the circularity goals around recycling 50% of all plastics by 2030, and to reduce the amount of plastics that are incinerated.

With Circular Plastics NL, the parties are fighting climate change, reducing the use of fossil raw materials, and cutting environmental pollution. The sustainable earning capacity of the Netherlands will thus be enhanced.

Investment will be doubled

The investment of 124 million euros is for the programs that will be starting in 2023 and 2024. For the entire 8-year program, a total of 220 million euros has been set aside by the Cabinet. That amount will be matched by industry and other stakeholders in the circular plastics chain.

A consortium

Circular Plastics NL is an initiative of the MaterialsNL platform, which was submitted to the National Growth Fund by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. The initiative was created in cooperation with the National Platform for Plastics Recycling.

On the basis of this platform, a consortium of more than 150 cooperating parties consisting of universities, colleges, knowledge institutions, small- and medium-sized enterprises, multinationals, start-ups, and civil-society organizations has been set up. 

Programs and platforms for materials and process innovation

Circular Plastics NL is developing several programs and platforms to create material and process innovations for circular plastics, and is thus working towards 100% circularity by 2050 (Raw Materials Agreement), and to seize the economic opportunities involved. Not only are current recycling loops being closed, for example, but new materials are being developed that, in the future, will be able to replace materials that are difficult to recycle.

The programs and platforms are:

  • The system integration of circular plastics
  • The design of circular plastics
  • Characterization, sorting, and washing
  • The industrialization of plastics recycling
  • Brightlands Circular Space

A decision-support model

In the Circular Plastics NL system-integration program, a decision-support model is being designed for the modeling of scenarios. It includes societal themes such as lifecycle assessment, costs, business models, behavior, microplastics, regulations and policies, logistics, and the quality of recyclates. It also provides direction for the transition to circular plastics, and ensures that the right investments in innovation will be made within the Growth Fund.

Design, characterization, sorting and washing, and recycling

The program’s themes “Design of circular plastics”, “Characterization, sorting and washing”, and “Industrialization of plastics recycling” provide technological innovation and upscaling that address bottlenecks in the chain.

Efficient and inclusive ecosystem and nursery

Under the Brightlands Circular Space theme, investments are being made in a facility to accelerate the scale-up from design to recycling. Together, the programs form the basis for an efficient and inclusive ecosystem for circular plastics. There is also an incubator for developing innovative and disruptive technology for the next generation of circular plastics.


The platforms focus primarily on cooperation along the chain. Within the framework of this cooperation, ten showcases have been defined that focus on a material and/or an application. Points of attention are listed in the figure, and programs in this area will be rolled out in an integrated fashion.

With this proposal, the Growth Fund is investing in the necessary innovation in, and scale-up of, circular plastics. This is a great opportunity for the Netherlands.

David Pappie, Director of Top Sectors

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