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From beach waste to a new product

Nederland Circulair! is organising the week of the circular economy, for the second time. This is a great setting for Leiden University to promote several of the university’s circular initiatives. We will kick off with an initiative by alumna Noortje Schrauwen: Raw material beachcombing.

Raw material beachcombing is an initiative in which ‘beachcombers’ in Katwijk carry a jute bag with them to collect waste. Afterwards, the beachcombers are treated to a cup of coffee at one of the participating pavilions. The waste is then used as raw material for new products. The initiative was started by Noortje Schrauwen, alumna of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology. "Many people already pick up rubbish during their beach strolls. But not everyone does it."

Initiatiefneemster Noortje Schrauwen

Waste separation

The beachcombers separate the waste they’ve found on site. Pieces of plastic - on sunny days - go into a specially made solar furnace, where the waste is melted into new products. The other waste goes to a local waste processing facility.

Local action

The Netherlands already scores well internationally when it comes to research and awareness raising of the danger of waste left lying around. Remember the Plastic Soup Foundation and The Ocean Clean-up. But action is also needed at local level. A lot of waste washes up on Dutch beaches: in a recent survey of 100 metres of beach, an average of 400 pieces of debris were found. For the entire Dutch coast, that amounts to more than 1.3 million pieces of waste.

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