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Circular waste

Exploring different scenarios to reduce residual waste

Every citizen produces a lot of waste. Some of the waste is collected separately, such as organic waste, PMD, paper, etc. because these materials can be recycled relatively easily. But a substantial amount of waste is labelled as 'residual waste'. In the context of sustainability, it is important to reduce the stream of residual waste.

As much as 5-8% of residual waste in the Netherlands consists of diapers. Eliminating this particular waste stream would directly reduce the total residual waste. Diapers themselves consist of different materials that can be well recycled separately. It would therefore be very useful if diapers could be decomposed into their original materials so that the entire diaper could be recycled.

The small waste-to-energy plant ARN, in Nijmegen region, is the client of this think tank.  ARN started to experiment with diaper recycling, leading to a technical process enabling the recycling of 15.000 diapers a year. This experiment also resulted in conversations with other actors (e.g. producers and consumers) on how to improve the use of diapers/decrease the impact of diapers.

The ARN and other stakeholders in the chain of diaper production, use, and disposal, would like to understand more about the possible futures of diapers. The aim of this think tank, therefore, is to analyze the current use of diapers and to develop alternative scenarios including the analysis of possible success factors and pitfalls from different perspectives (e.g. user, producer, government). These scenarios could vary from going ‘back’ to a situation in which only cotton diapers are used, to changing the production process of one-time-use diapers. Furthermore, you can investigate to what extend consumers are willing to change their diaper-usage choices, and what is legally feasible.

Kick-off weekend
The kick-off weekend of this think tank will be on Friday 10 and Saturday 11 February 2023 in the Huissen Monastery. The kick-off weekend is a mandatory part of the think tank.

Weekly meetings
After the kick-off, weekly meetings will take place on Wednesdays from 18.30-20.30. The supervisors are present every other week.

Study trip
A study trip lasting up to three or four days is also part of this think tank. The dates and location will be determined in consultation with the group.

Dr. Sjors Witjes, Associate professor Strategic Management at Radboud University
Casper Kirkels, programme coordinator RHA