An important theme in the cooperation among the alliance members is Circular Society. The four institutions cooperate within this theme in order to contribute to the transition to a sustainable society.
The demand for raw materials for food, accommodation, clothing and electrical appliances has risen sharply in recent years, whereas the available supply is shrinking. A circular economy does not produce waste and keeps recycling raw materials. This allows us to unburden the environment and to continue to lead prosperous lives. The cooperation between TU/e, WUR, UU and UMC Utrecht brings together complementary areas of expertise which together are needed to find safe, responsible ways of reducing the use of raw materials.
Circularity as a leading principle is attractive but yet abstract. How does the principle relate to practical situations for citizens and companies? Which changes in behaviour and legislation are needed? By using and working with the hubs Circular Safe Hospitals and Circular Inclusive Cities, we will be able to share transferable insights and views.
To speed up a successful transition to a circular society a focus on the interface between cities and their surroundings is essential. Systemic circular solutions contribute to the sustainable development of urban-rural areas. This transition is hampered by an increasing tension between urban and rural areas. The challenge is to close cycles regionally, connecting cities and rural areas. Smart circular innovations can promote urban-rural (social) cohesion and regional economic activities, while lowering different kinds of emissions and resource scarcity at the same time. Closing cycles at the interface between city and its surroundings can only be successful with an integral technology-nature-society approach.
Circular Safe Hospitals
The Dutch healthcare sector is responsible for 13% of the national footprint of material extraction and for 7% of the national emissions. As one of the most carbon-intensive sectors in the Netherlands, it is a major contributor to climate change, loss of biodiversity and pollution of water, air, and land which, controversially, all negatively impact human health and wellbeing. The aim of the hub Circular Safe Hospitals is to increase circularity in hospitals by developing and implementing systemic transdisciplinary circular strategies and scalable solutions that will minimize the ecological footprint of hospitals and her negative effects on global and planetary health. This directly contributes to the mission of the Dutch health care sector to become fully circular in 2050 (Green Deal Sustainable Healthcare).