The Municipality of Almere and the Almere Economic Development Board have taken the initiative to valorise the municipality’s waste flows generated from public space management. Within this so-called Raw Materials Collective, the municipality, educational institutions, knowledge organisations and private sector partners are all working together. This collaboration is formalised within a cooperative. The Raw Materials Collective Almere may be viewed as an open innovation platform within which businesses have joined forces in identifying innovative solutions for creating value from residual waste flows. Interested businesses can still join the Raw Materials Cooperative Almere. In 2017, the municipality invested a total of 400,000 euro.
The municipality has focused its ambitions on:
Together with Antalis and Staples, the GCA has produced paper from raw materials obtained from plants from the water around Almere. An initiative has also been launched to use the same raw materials to develop appetizer cups.
Elsewhere, the GCA manufactured park benches, riverbank protection and tables using biocomposite material, consisting of fibres from grass/water plants and potato starch. This makes it possible to use natural and renewable raw materials to manufacture new products, in collaboration with local and regional businesses. The municipality is a joint founder of the GCA and supplies residual waste flows from public space, such as water plants.
Since the GCA was established, people estranged from the labour market have been invited to contribute to undertaking the necessary work, for example the further post-separation of various waste flows. In addition, as is the case with the Upcycle Centre, students are involved to contribute to the local, circular economy via education and research.