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Type: Interview

Meet the CCRI stakeholders: Zuid Holland (Fellow)

Published on 25.06.2024

This month we spoke to Edwin Perdijk, Zuid Holland’s Senior Policy Officer on the energy and material transition for industry, about the challenges the region is facing as it strives for a fully circular chemical industry by 2050. In our latest interview, Edwin explains what it means for the region’s chemical sector to be fully circular, the solutions that are currently being worked on and how being part of the CCRI is helping Zuid Holland get closer to reaching its goal. A recent OECD case study developed within the CCRI framework also highlighted Zuid Holland’s efforts while creating a moment for the province to reflect and consider its next steps towards a circular economy.

Countries: Netherlands

What are the main challenges that you face in the Netherlands for the circular transition in the chemical industrial sector?

The Dutch provinces have set the target to become fully circular by 2050. This is in line with the Dutch national government’s ambitions. For the industrial sector this means a resource transition towards biobased resources, circular plastics and CO2 as a resource. The Netherlands knows several regional (petrochemical) industrial clusters, for example in Zuid-Holland, Limburg and Noord-Nederland. Most of the challenges the sector faces to reach its circular potential are related to a lack of a level playing field for circular alternatives. There is a multitude of examples of initiatives in the Netherlands that failed because of this. Therefore, the sector needs national and European policies to realise a level playing field. Based on the Dutch situation, there’s a need for: 


  • standards for the use of recycled materials in products like the mixing obligation for fuels, but then for plastics; 

  • more product groups that fall under the ecodesign regulation; 

  • standardisation of packaging types; 

  • stimulation of large-scale logistics systems for reusable packaging and products; 

  • an easier situation for trading and transport in reusable waste streams; 

  • more measures to reduce the use of fuels; 

  • stimulating financial incentives that favour a circular economy over a linear economy; 

  • incentives to make carbon capture and usage (CCU) more attractive. 

How is participating in the CCRI helping you overcome these challenges?

The CCRI network helps us to learn about best practices from other European cities and regions via the Thematic Working Groups and other CCRI activities. It also creates the opportunity to work with other regions and organisations to develop new pathways and accelerate the circular transition. As an official partner of the CCRI, the OECD recently developed a case study report on the activities of the province of Zuid-Holland in their research on a regional approach to the transition towards a circular economy. This study, conducted in the framework of the CCRI and funded by the European Commission, shed a light on the work of our organisation, but at the same time created a moment of reflection. The outcomes of the report helped us to sharpen Zuid-Holland’s future approach to circular economy through a position paper on the topic, focused on the OECD 3Ps framework: People and firms, Policies and Places. 

What kind of Circular Systemic Solutions are you implementing (or developing)?

In Zuid-Holland almost 30% of all resources in the Netherlands are used, mainly because of the still mainly fossil-based petrochemical industry and fuel sector in the port area of Rotterdam. Carbon is a very important molecule in this petrochemical industry. We seek solutions to replace fossil carbon in multiple ways – for instance via biobased resources, via recycling of plastics and via capturing carbon released in industrial processes. We think that it is important to create significant incentives for European industries in order for CCU to become as attractive as carbon capture and storage (CCS).1 As the current ETS system does not support the pathway towards circularity, we believe the adoption of European legislation will be one of the driving forces of the large-scale shift in Rotterdam’s industrial area that we expect to see in the next decade. 


On a side note: as a society we need to drastically reduce our need for plastics and move away from single use plastics. Therefore, we've initiated the HerPakt network where over 40 participants are building reuse systems for reusable packaging in the B2B chain via pilots, ensuring knowledge sharing. The first focus is on systems for reuse in the horticultural and cleaning sectors. 


built environment, CEAP2 key product value chain

Type of territories involved

predominantly urban regions, intermediate and predominantly rural regions, refer to TERCET typology NUTS 3 region