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The circular society. What is Limburg’s role?

The Chemelot Circular Hub is designed to ensure that Limburg makes the transition towards a circular society. It maintains a close working relationship with Brightlands, and Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen in particular when it comes to this theme. Deputy Ruud Burlet talks about the importance of the hub and the Marc Cornelissen Brightlands Award.


“Having been chosen as the first European location on the road to a circular society, Limburg faces a major challenge in the coming years. In terms of technology, this challenge involves the need to electrify industrial production processes, making the use of gas unnecessary. There is great pressure on this circular transformation, but the associated knowledge and skills are available in Limburg. This also applies to the willingness of people in business, politics and education to work very closely together to make this transformation a success.”


Household waste as a new raw material “The Circular Hub is particularly significant in this area. This is visible in the active role it is playing in the Afval Samenwerking Limburg (Limburg Waste Coalitionor ASL) plan to team up with 30 Limburg municipalities to process all household waste regionally and sustainably and reuse it as a new raw material. This can also create additional jobs. It’s a great fit.”


Waste becomes hydrogen gas “Energy concern RWE wants to filter valuable waste components and process what is known as the residual ‘gray waste’ at the Chemelot site to produce hydrogen gas. This is a huge step up for the Limburg manufacturing industry. It should however be noted that in a circular economy you have to take all the same familiar steps again. In doing so, you will need to answer the following questions: Which raw materials do we need? Which technology? And where is the market?”


‘IN A CIRCULAR ECONOMY YOU HAVE TO TAKE ALL THE SAME FAMILIAR STEPS AGAIN’


Sparking enthusiasm and encouraging consumers “You also need consumers. Whether it’s about cars, refrigerators or packaging: consumers are getting information from various authorities, but are also encouraged and motivated to cooperate in the circular treatment and revaluation of the various waste flows. Boosting sustainable initiatives and connecting rewards to these projects is the reason this is part of the Province of Limburg’s policy framework.”


Important incentive award “This is also why the Province of Limburg is such a strong supporter of the Marc Cornelissen Brightlands Award. It is an important incentive prize for pioneers who actively contribute to a sustainable society through their innovative projects, following the amazing example set by Marc Cornelissen. I didn’t know him personally, but I have read a lot about him. One thing that really stands out is how he was a shining example and a great inspiration for people who study sustainability issues and come up with a solution for them. And along these lines: a project that can be translated from the lab worktop to the factory is really a fantastic sight to behold.”

‘A PROJECT THAT CAN BE TRANSLATED FROM THE LAB WORKTOP TO THE FACTORY IS REALLY A FANTASTIC SIGHT TO BEHOLD’


Valley of Death “This isn’t easy; after all, there is phenomenon called the Valley of Death that occurs between an innovative idea and its actual realization, a deep valley which sustainability pioneers have to fight to get out of. But they don't have to do it alone. In the Circular Hub, close cooperation with all parties involved leads to the constant search for possibilities for linking innovative ideas to the factories and installations at the site. This alone makes the Circular Hub a very special place.”

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