Rotterdam opens Circular Counter


Rotterdam is the first city in the Netherlands to open a Circular Counter for businesses. Businesses can contact this counter with all their questions related to using waste as a raw material, and for advice and support concerning legislation and regulations. The Circular Counter is a partnership between the City of Rotterdam and DCMR Milieudienst Rijnmond. It was opened on 21 June by alderman Arno Bonte (Sustainability, Air Quality, Energy Transition) during an online event with various businesspeople from the circular sector held in BlueCity Rotterdam.

Alderman Arno Bonte believes the Circular Counter can accelerate the transition to a circular economy.  “There are lots of businesses in Rotterdam who want to reuse waste as a raw material, which is in line with our goal of wasting fewer raw materials. Nevertheless, businesses often encounter barriers in practice, such as outdated laws and regulations. We hope the Circular Counter will remove these barriers and help circular businesses get on with their work.”

Circular ambition

The City of Rotterdam has some lofty ambitions in the field of circularity; by 2030, the goal is to reduce the use of raw materials by 50%. Using ‘waste’ as a raw material is an important part of achieving this goal. However, many laws and regulations are still geared to a ‘linear’ economy, in which materials are discarded at the end of their useful lives. This means using waste as a raw material is complicated and subject to all kinds of rules. For businesses, this often means a lengthy and expensive search for the right procedures and permits. The Circular Counter supports businesses in this area, removing an important hurdle for the circular economy in Rotterdam.

Practical experience

The introduction of the Circular Counter was partly inspired by the experiences of Rotterdam businesses, who still find themselves bogged down in procedures all too often. Among them are the people behind RotterZwam, a company that grows oyster mushrooms on coffee grounds. Their experience with the ‘Back to the bottom’ project has shown them the legal and other procedures involved in running a circular business, what is needed to go through these procedures properly, and how organic and non-organic waste can be used as raw materials.  “This is valuable information that helps us and other businesses to realise circular ambitions faster,” said the alderman.


Specialists at the Circular Counter from DCMR Milieudienst Rijnmond provide businesses in the Rotterdam region with personalised advice and insight into the procedures that have to be followed. At the same time, the questions also clarify the problems businesses face, and can be useful in amending laws and regulations.  The counter can be contacted from 21 June by calling +31 (0)10 2468000 or e-mailing

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