Empowering Circular Plastics Modeling: A Recap of the Collaborative Workshop

A remarkable stride in the CIRCOMOD project’s collaborative efforts came to fruition with the convening of the workshop titled “Empowering Circular Plastics Modeling for the Netherlands and Beyond.” This engaging event was co-organized in partnership with the PBL – Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency’s research program focused on monitoring and evaluating the circular economy.

Held on the 23rd of June, 2023, the workshop provided a platform to assess the current best practices and challenges inherent in modeling the circular economy within the plastics value chain. Esteemed experts in the realms of system dynamics modeling, integrated assessment modeling, and computable general equilibrium modeling were invited to contribute their insights.

This workshop played a pivotal role in the ongoing exploratory work aimed at advancing the representation of the circular economy. It fostered discussions around the latest developments in this domain and identified key scientific and representational challenges specific to modeling circular plastics. The participants formed a diverse cohort of quantitative modeling practitioners who shared their experiences in the intricate task of modeling circular (plastic) value chains.

Central to the workshop’s agenda was an overview of existing modeling capacities and contemporary practices. The forum offered a dedicated space for discussing and taking stock of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Kicking off the proceedings, Dr. Mariësse van Sluisveld (PBL) provided an insightful overview of various modeling perspectives and their collective contributions to enhancing our understanding of circular plastics modeling. Dr. Oreane Edelenbosch (Utrecht University) delved into the challenges that the CIRCOMOD consortium aims to address, setting the stage for further discussions.

Dr. Corjan Brink (PBL) presented the process of establishing a cohesive framework capable of evaluating the efficacy of circular economy policies developed within the framework of the Dutch research program ‘Monitoring and Evaluating the Circular Economy.’

Dr. Paul Stegmann (TNO) took the floor to discuss his endeavors in developing Paris-aligned scenarios for climate change mitigation, with a specific emphasis on the plastics value chain.

The workshop not only facilitated insightful talks on specific research advancements but also underscored the imperative for coordination and knowledge exchange across diverse communities. A unanimous consensus emerged among the experts – the current research landscape falls short of comprehensively addressing plastic value chains across spatial scales and product categories. Furthermore, there’s a recognized dearth of attention to the more intricate facets of circular economy strategies.

The resounding call for collaboration and knowledge sharing reverberated throughout the discussions. It’s universally acknowledged that such cooperation is vital to bridging gaps in our understanding and rectifying project-specific and parametric biases. These biases often affect the assessment of production, utilization, substitution, and waste management dynamics within the realm of plastic (secondary) material.


As we reflect on this enriching workshop, it becomes evident that the path forward involves collective efforts, interdisciplinary collaboration, and a shared commitment to refining the modeling landscape for a more sustainable and circular future.

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