Report makes circular economy recommendations to Dutch ceramics sector


In collaboration with Royal Dutch Building Ceramics (KNB), Circle Economy has determined that to make the Dutch economy fully circular by 2050, the building ceramics sector still has “major steps” to take.

The report, The role of ceramics in the circular economy, investigates the current and future role of building ceramics in a circular economy. As part of its findings, Circle Economy recommends various options for improvement in the sector.

Ceramic products in the built environment include bricks, roof tiles and tiles made of fired clay. Circle Economy says it has found that the environmental impact of ceramic products has already been reduced through “innovation in the sector”, from more efficient heating technologies and product innovation to contributions to nature development during resource extraction.

Circle Economy recommends “further innovation” in emission-free production techniques, new product formulas and alternative business models and partnerships. The organisation says the sector is already taking the first steps along this path, with a broadening range of detachable products, increasing recycling and reuse and the development of new business models but this needs to be “accelerated”.

Circle Economy’s researchers have found that reducing (fossil) energy use and related emissions will be crucial to be able to consider ceramic products circular in the future. It says the most promising alternatives include the use of sustainable hydrogen and renewable electricity for microwave oven technology for clay drying where possible.

Furthermore, Circle Economy recommends investing more in making ceramic products detachable and reusable. The organisation also says it sees supply chain cooperation as a critical success factor in the continued transition to a circular ceramic industry.

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