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City of Amsterdam Rene Koop
Build a
Waste-free World
2022 Finalist

City of Amsterdam, Circular Economy

Area of Impact:
The Netherlands
Nominated by:

In 2020, The City of Amsterdam committed to becoming a circular economy. By 2050, it aims to waste nothing and recycle everything.

Their Story

In 2020, The City of Amsterdam took a radical step by becoming the first city to commit to building a circular economy, where waste is eradicated and citizens are prosperous. By 2030, the city will halve its use of new raw materials. By 2050, its economy will be fully circular.

To do so, it will cut waste in three areas: the food Amsterdamers eat, the products they use, and construction in the built environment. Most importantly, the city is changing the way its residents and companies think, shifting people from a ‘use-and-dispose’ mindset towards one of ‘rethink- and-reuse.

Two years into the city’s ‘Circular Strategy’, things are already changing, with a blizzard of small acts leading to society-wide transformation. When Covid struck, for example, the city helped local textile businesses cut the cost of clothing repairs by 80 percent to encourage more re-use as household budgets fell.

Further opportunities to cut waste have been found in unlikely places. The city has started recycling its artificial grass, and examined how new grass pitches can be designed so that they can last longer. Besides that, the municipality has made the reuse of building material the standard, instead of automatically ordering new supply.

Major steps are necessary to achieve the system change that is required. The Circular Monitor that Amsterdam has built and which tracks all material streams in the City can help in making the right choices on which materials need to be prioritised, and how we can rethink and regenerate their design and life cycle.

Their impact so far

Since becoming a Finalist in 2022, the City of Amsterdam have shared learnings with many other cities worldwide and continue to develop their circular strategy.

Connections Made

The City of Amsterdam has received advice from Global Alliance member Arup on how best to develop and implement its circular economy strategy.

Deloitte is helping them with data collection, while IKEA is helping engage residents.

Delegates from The City of Amsterdam joined other US and European cities in Milan to learn more about the 2021 Finalist’s own waste-free model.

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Other 2022 Build a Waste-free World Finalists

The Earthshot Prize