The Circular Economy and the Environment: 'Directing and accelerating sustainability'

Sustainability: the societal challenge of our time. Due to climate change and a critical perspective on the use of raw materials, this issue is high up on the agenda of companies and public authorities. The most important part of the solution is a circular economy. TNO is working on a number of applications and measures to realise this.

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49% less CO2 emissions in 2030 than there were in 1990. This is the objective of the Dutch Climate Agreement. This figure is simply an intermediary step towards 2050. According to the Paris Climate Agreement, global warming must by then be limited to 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius. By contributing to the transition agendas, TNO is making a case for these ambitious goals.

The circular economy

TNO is working on applications to achieve a fully circular economy by 2050. These applications are based on the idea that cities are not only there to be lived in, but also serve as a huge source of reusable materials. We’re working, for example, on technologies to produce new, high-grade plastics from discarded plastics. We’re also developing ways to make construction more sustainable.

With our technical, social and economic expertise, we help public authorities and companies on their way to becoming more sustainable. Through an integrated view of possible scenarios and direct lines of communication with the most diverse areas of expertise within TNO, we can find the right answer to every question – regardless of whether it concerns a dilemma surrounding policy or a technological challenge.

Environment and climate

For a healthy environment, we build models and sensors that assess the quality of the living environment and industrial safety. These include sensors that measure specific substances in the groundwater or the air, such as particulate matter from traffic, emissions from agriculture and microplastics. We’re also building measurement networks to detect sources of disturbance, including harmful noise emissions.

For the climate, we’re developing models to monitor the agreements made in Paris and to take control of climate change. Where do greenhouse gases occur, how do they develop and what can public authorities and companies do about them? Using satellite observations, we analyse harmful emissions in the atmosphere while creating ground-based models and small sensors to measure and predict exposure to airborne particles and greenhouse gases.

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Nobody knows what the future will bring. But there does exist the ultimate goal of a circular economy by 2050. This is why it’s TNO’s ambition to reduce CO2 emissions in our country, reuse more raw materials, implement recycling technologies for circular plastics, use 30% less new materials in the construction industry and reduce emissions.

TNO Insights

Two highly promising methods for recycling plastic packaging

01 September 2020
The main advantage of plastic is its great versatility, and the fact that it can be produced so cheaply. However, its disadvantage is that, once it has been used, it is very difficult to recycle because... Read more

New research program to develop circular plastics packaging

02 April 2020
Plastic packaging materials used in supermarkets should be better recycled and subsequently reused in the packaging industry. This will result in a significant reduction in CO2 emissions and contribute... Read more

European Plastic Pact to tackle plastic waste

06 March 2020
TNO signed up to the European Plastic Pact. TNO has already signed the Dutch Plastic Pact in 2019. The aim of the Dutch Plastic Pact is to reach a 20% reduction in plastic by 2025 and more recycling and... Read more

European Circular Plastics Alliance pact

04 October 2019
On 20 September 2019, the Circular Plastics Alliance presented and adopted its declaration in Brussels. Marinke Wijngaard signed the declaration on behalf of TNO. Read more

Marinke Wijngaard, MSc

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