Education as key to a circular economy: A conversation with Mark Rutte

On February 1st, Veva Uwamarogie, a 4th year Facility Management at THUAS was keynote speaker during the National Conference on Circular Economy. In the closing panel, she had a conversation with prime minister Mark Rutte, state secretary Stientje van Veldhoven and two other youth: Werner Schouten (president of the Young Climate Movement) and Elzelinde van Doleweerd, founder of Upprinting Food.

Veva did an internship at the Custodial Institutions Agency (DJI) where she studied the environmental impact of disposable and reusable cups throughout their life cycle. Her study was part of a large research project on Circular Facility Management between DJI, FM Haaglanden and THUAS that aims to contribute to the reduction of residual waste and the use of raw materials. This project will run until September 2022 and is important to achieve the national goals of 35% residual waste, 50% less consumption of primary raw materials in 2030, and 100% sustainable procurement. The Netherlands aims to be fully circular by 2050. 

Veva asked the prime minister how we can teach the circular economy at an early age so that children and youth are aware of the issues at stake and can decide to do something about it. He replied that knowledge makes power so the earlier we can educate people about what needs to be done to achieve our circularity goals, the better they can contribute to these objectives. The state secretary added that kids will consider it normal to have recycled products at home, when they grow up with them. Rutte added that circular economy principles should be included in every curriculum and aside from that, students can do internships but also start their own companies to foster the circular economy. 

Earlier that day, THUAS researcher Bas van den Berg had announced the national circular economy hackathon in a conversation with Minister of Education Ingrid van Engelshoven. Visitors are welcome to join the finale of this event on Friday February 5 and can register via this link.

The panel discussion with Veva can be viewed back via this link (starting at minute 1:32:00): 

Click here for more information on the Circular Facility Management research project.