Developing a Responsible Circular Economy in the Netherlands

The Case of Pyrolysis Technology


Figure 1: Discarded tires (source: black bear carbon, 2020)
Figure 2: Circular economy using pyrolysis on tires (source: black bear carbon, 2020)

Innovation System

The Quadruple Helix (QH) model (Carayannis, Campbell 2009) is adopted as the framework to map out the innovation system (Figure 3).

FIGURE 3: Quadruple Helix Model Adapted by Fraunhofer (Fraunhofer, 2015)
FIGURE 4: Quadruple Helix Model Adapted by Fraunhofer (Fraunhofer, 2015)
Figure 6: Innovation systems map for pyrolysis technology (waste4me and pyrolyse proeftuin case study)

The Social Map

Applying the notion of social proximity (Lazzeretti, Capone, 2016), the more influential members of the system are the upstream and downstream commercial stakeholders — waste producers/logistics and pyrolysis product buyers. SUEZ is a logistics company that collects, separates and recycles waste together with innovation partners to ensure long-term profit (Verrips et al, 2019). The Port of Moerdjik supports Waste4Me by using derived bio-oils refined into transport fuel for ships, which accelerates the valorisation of plastic waste within this market niche.

Figure 7: Typical Photo Of Turtle With Plastic Waste (source: Gis Edu, 2019)
Cradle2cradle certification given to waste tire pyrolysis products

The Value Map

The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment released a Government-wide Circular Economy policy program which highlights future agendas and goals (Ministry of IenM, 2016). The Ellen MacArthur Foundation published a report on circular economy, taking a European perspective on cross-value chain innovations that spans public and private sectors (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2013).

  1. Less Emissions
  2. Inherent Circular Design
  1. ‘Systems Thinking’ and Industrial Symbiosis (B2B reuse & recycling)
  2. Open Innovation and Co-development

Interventions and Policies

Discrepancies arise when juxtaposing the innovation social map with circular economy ideals. Institutional interventions may serve to resolve this, by highlighting three policy actions below.


An underlying notion is present: the shared values (and goals) toward an inclusive, circular economy can be a clear and strong unifying factor for emerging pyrolysis innovation. Using the PP as an example, this is largely facilitated by the government, the culture-based media and public and supporting commercial actors on technology developers. While discrepancies in proximity to values exist, institutional interventions have the opportunity to resolve them — through incentives and policy for co-development, energy demonstration projects and active responsibility, so that we can all achieve circular economy as a proud Dutch nation.


Williams, Paul T. ‘Pyrolysis of Waste Tyres: A Review’. Waste Management 33, no. 8 (1 August 2013): 1714–28..

Co-founder @ Pyropower | Reef Support | Social and Climate Impact — Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish!

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