Wageningen University & Research: WUR starts with Material Flow Management: an innovative approach to material flows and use of raw materials

At the end of 2021, WUR signed a contract for Material Flow Management. With it, WUR aims to start an innovative and hopefully trendsetting approach to material flows and the use of raw materials, in cooperation with its selected partners.

What is Material Flow Management?
WUR is working on implementing circular operational management as set out in WUR’s circular economy policy Vision & strategy 2019–2030. The organisation aims to halve its use of (abiotic) raw materials by 2030. This will be achieved by reducing the use of raw materials throughout the use cycle, by forgoing products (refusing), by using products more intelligently (rethinking) and by (re)using products and their components within WUR and elsewhere (recycling & reusing) for longer. With Material Flow Management, WUR can get take control of its raw material flows and keep as many raw materials as possible in the chain for as long as possible. In doing so, WUR not only looks at products’ ‘end-of-life’ and sustainable processing, but specifically at the inflow of raw materials to ensure that the products and raw materials that do come in are properly reused or recycled.

From one contractor to multiple partners
Several contracts for waste collection and processing expired recently. During the new tendering process, WUR looked for more intensive forms of cooperation; it became clear that making one waste processor responsible for our progressive ambitions was not enough. However, a partnership with several parties would be, and this has clear added value too.

The raw materials processing company PreZero and engineering and consultancy firm Witteveen + Bos have emerged as the best partners for implementing Material Flow Management within WUR. They have been given responsibility of working on reducing the use of raw materials throughout the entire use cycle.

Finding Answers Together
During the signing of the contract, Rens Buchwaldt (member of the WUR Executive Board) emphasised that this contract is an important step in achieving WUR’s ambitions for circularity. The contract is a good example of WUR’s mission ‘Finding Answers Together’; working together to achieve circular business operations.

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