On this episode of the World Resources Institute Podcast, Stientje van Veldhoven joins Lawrence MacDonald to discuss the revolutionary idea of a circular economy, and its potential to reshape how we think about sustainable consumption. With a growing world population, rethinking how and what we consider waste will be key in securing enough resources to go around.
We were fortunate to host Ms. van Veldhoven here at WRI recently for a presentation and discussion called “The Circular Economy: Challenge, Solution, and Practice—the Dutch Case.” As a parliamentarian in the Dutch House of Representatives, she is regarded as one of Holland’s top sustainability leaders. She has been voted the “Greenest Dutch Politician” of the year three times and is the highest ranking politician in the Top Sustainable 100 list of Dutch newspaper Trouw. She works regularly to promote the benefits of a circular economy and share the positive impact it has had in the Netherlands.
With the world population set to approach 9 billion by 2050, the resources we consume and waste become increasingly important. As millions joining the middle class globally every year, we as consumers are poised to buy, use and throw away more than ever before. If the new middle class consumes at the same rate as we have in the past, we will deplete the earth’s resources in no time at all.
How do we close the loop?
On the podcast, you will hear Ms. van Veldhoven describe the successes experienced by both the government and private sector in Holland using circular economy methodology. As it turns out, those successes can be measured not only by a reduced impact on the planet, but also by results seen across the economy in better bottom lines and increased job opportunities.
In her own words: “In modern economies the use of waste as an added value to fight scarcity and dependency on primary resources and counter negative global trends is a necessary long term need. Optimized resource use is an important part of circular economy and it has a great value for the environment and the job market.”