The Dutch Central Government is committed to ‘make the Netherlands circular’ by 2050. To reach this goal, the government is actively promoting entrepreneurship, circular solutions and sustainable procurement.
The Dutch Central Government is committed to ‘make the Netherlands circular’ by 2050. To reach this goal, the government is actively promoting entrepreneurship, circular solutions and sustainable procurement. The government wide policy is to be a sustainable and hands-on organization where all departments work together to enhance this circular economy. With more than 110.000 FTE who all need laptops and phones for their work, IT provides a major and tangible opportunity to contribute to the government-wide goals of sustainable procurement. And most of all, one that ensures every civil servant feels connected to this topic.
The Dutch Central Government buys around 30.000 new smartphones per year. As these smartphones contain over 60 scarce metals, from which 27 are critical raw materials, the Central Government felt the need to add a circular service to their IT procurement. The government wide policy is to be a sustainable and hands-on organization and the main wish was to also implement sustainability for IT.
‘’Closing the Loop offers a pragmatic, hands-on approach to reduce the complex, worldwide e-waste problem. The solution enables the Central Government to take important steps in awareness and urgency within the entire country’’ Johan Rodenhuis, Category Manager ICT Central Government
The Dutch Central government wanted to get started on circular procurement in a tangible way that also involves and engages every employee on the topic of circularity. The government wanted to start in a safe way that is easy to implement and focuses on a topic and product that every person in the organization understands and can relate to.
For every phone the Central Government buys, Closing the Loop collects and recycles a scrap phone that would otherwise not be collected properly. The recycling of a scrap phone ‘compensates’ the new device, it makes it waste-neutral. The service is also known as waste-compensation and offers a first, pragmatic step towards circular procurement. It is perfect for aligning IT procurement to the government's organizational values on topics like sustainability and circularity.
The devices that every civil servant uses every day have become symbols or practical, tangible and realistic circular action. The collaboration between the Central Government and Closing the Loop helped the government to achieve practical circular results. Making phones waste-neutral showed the government the benefits of using ‘circularity as a service’. This service resulted in the recycling of end-of-life devices collected in countries that struggle with electronic waste (such as Ghana). Here, local jobs and income are created by Closing the Loop, as they pay informal networks to collect waste in a safe manner. Scarce materials such as cobalt, gold, copper and silver were made available for reuse. Last but not least, the government also gave a clear signal to the IT industry by asking for e-waste compensation and showing to their suppliers that they are willing to pay for circular results.
Are you interested in getting started on circularity?
Like the Dutch Central Government and more than 50 other organizations, you can combine positive social, environmental and PR benefits, by using the services of Closing the Loop. Become a circular pioneer! Get in touch via 020 75 26 506 or info [at] closingtheloop.eu