In 2016 Tilburg drew up the economic circular for Tilburg. Robert Kint is the municipal driving force behind this approach: "The most important thing you can do as a municipality now is to stimulate and stimulate the circular business, and that is the best I can do.
Circularity in the initial phase
Contrary to the energy transition, the circular economy is still in its infancy, according to Robert. "The beauty of such a transition is that it is not something you create, but something that happens. As a government, you can only try to speed up the transition process".
According to Robert, in this first phase you don't do this by focusing on goals, but by just getting to work. "We are still in the learning phase and working on the next step, the acceleration. As a congregation, you have a role to play in this as well. We try to set a good example ourselves, by connecting parties and facilitating each other where necessary".
Stimulating and facilitating
Robert likes it the most and finds it important to start business. "You have to make sure that there are circular products before you can ask people to consume them in a circular way. So supply and demand, especially now that there is little left. We do this together with start-ups, but also with large companies that are already working on this.
The municipality facilitates and supports this in four ways: at individual company level, at the business parks and within chains in the region. The fourth way is the establishment of MakerSpace. "That has already produced good results," continues Robert enthusiastically.
Companies and the municipality are looking for each other and the account managers of the municipality play an important role in this. They regularly discuss circular alternatives during company visits. A good example is Wolkat in Tilburg: "The company felt that the sale of old textiles on the second-hand market and the use of the rest in cleaning cloths and insulation materials did not go far enough.
"Everything the company can't sell now goes to Morocco. There it is processed into new yarn, which they use in the Netherlands for new applications such as clothing or interior design. In this way, 100% upcycling is possible. In a transparent way that company really goes in a circular direction". Wolkat does all this on its own, but sometimes needs help to overcome barriers. The municipality, knowledge institutes and other companies can then offer this help.
Areas: green deal and Parksharing
The municipalities are also active on the business parks, for which they make use of green deals. The theme of circularity is also part of this: "We are looking at what residual flows exist and how companies can help each other in this regard. Parksharing is an initiative of FLOOW2 and Solaris Parkmanagement, with which companies can exchange their resources and services. FLOOW2 will also collaborate with Symbiosis4Growth".
According to Robert, this will take us in the direction of the sub-economy. "The municipality has contributed to the concept from the outset. Parksharing has its own business model, so no subsidy is needed. Only in the case of the roll-out by Tilburg will the municipality subsidize part of it.".
Chains: textile, food and recycling
Finally, the municipality is looking at the closure of chains within the region. In Tilburg it concerns the textile, food, construction and recycling industry. "This chain approach almost always starts with sitting down together, explaining what is circular during breakfast, giving inspiring examples and networking. Participants are the entrepreneurs, employees of knowledge institutions, governments and other parties, such as MOED.
According to Robert, the ball starts rolling automatically after a few breakfast sessions: "Such a project grows automatically, because it is the fanatical forerunners of the circular economy who are present. Good examples in the textile, construction and food sector are 013Circles, the Dutch Circle Valley, Zuiderzwam, Circle City and 013Food.
Round craft centres
Robert admits that it is sometimes small things that occur at the table, but soon adds that it has to grow and accelerate. The same goes for the circular craft centres: "We have La Poubelle and Kringloop Tilburg, and the idea is that they will grow. Not only the sale of beautiful things, but also the refurbishment, repair, disassembly and reuse or recycling of the port parts".
In order to achieve this, they are going to improve the cooperation with the BAT on the Milieustraat. "The ultimate goal is for people to better understand the value of their possessions and not just throw them away. Citizens are also given an active role here. By looking at your own things differently, circularity really has an impact".
Knowledge platform and initiator
According to Robert, you also need a central location for this: "A portal function that connects all the hotspots in the region, so that starters and investors can get in touch with each other and get their ideas up and running quickly. MakerSpace and Tilburg are a circular of those initiatives where everything comes together".
You don't just get there with the business community and the government, that's why Robert starts from the triple helix: "It's about the cooperation between government, companies and knowledge institutions. These can be educational institutions, but a company like MOED is also an excellent facilitator and initiator. If a project or programme has to be carried out, or if a subsidy has to be applied for, the municipality likes to work with MOED. And so, together, we will ensure that the Netherlands becomes a circular country by 2050".