The Upcycle Centre was completed in January 2018, and serves as a breeding ground for start-ups who are able to make use on the spot of the residual waste flows supplied by the population of Almere. Subject to favourable conditions, the starting companies are offered space to create new products from the waste flows. As a result, the traditional recycling centre is transformed into an innovative location where resources are no longer lost but are instead upcycled. At the same time, in the adjacent education centre, school pupils, students and local residents can acquire knowledge of and be inspired by the upcycling of materials. The total investments amounted to € 5.5 million. The Municipality of Almere contributed € 4.5 million, with the remaining € 1 million provided by the Urbanisation Fund (Fonds Verstedelijking).
The Upcycle Centre was the result of a competition organised by the Municipality of Almere to create new circular economic activity. The ambitions of the municipality are focused on:
Two start-up companies were founded in January 2018. On a temporary basis, they have been permitted to further develop their economic activities to the scale-up stage. At that point they will be asked to find a new location elsewhere, in the vicinity of the Upcycle Centre, to offer space for new start-ups. Via a series of associated projects, the development of circular activity in and around the Upcycle Centre will be further encouraged, by offering space for experimentation.
The Upcycle Centre was built using secondary raw materials, including materials from a demolished swimming pool. As a result, waste material was redeployed as raw material. Within this development project, the Municipality of Almere played the role of initiator and financier, and as contract-awarding party was involved in the creation of the Upcycle Centre.
Schoolchildren are involved via education programmes at the education centre on the Upcycle Centre site. Students have been invited to combine research and teaching programmes with the development of the circular economy in and around the Upcycle Centre. The arrival of start-ups will create new job opportunities. Via regular work at the Upcycle Centre (City Cleaning department), people receiving benefits and people estranged from the labour market can find employment.