Paper and metal recycling Utrecht

Provinces, regions and municipalities have elaborated circular ambitions and goals in policy to eventually have a 100% circular economy by 2050. For many chains, raw materials are already being reused in one way or another, but the step towards a truly circular economy has yet to be taken. Some chains are further along in this than others. The municipality of Utrecht also subscribes to the circular ambitions and goals, but at the same time has to deal with a major housing challenge, which means that the current site of the companies Papier Recycling Utrecht (PRU) and Metaal Recycling Utrecht (MRU) must make way for the further expansion of Leidsche Rijn.

The municipality has terminated the lease and PRU and MRU are willing to move, but suitable alternative space is limited and the municipality does not (yet) intend to actively support finding a new location. Ecorys conducted a study on the position of both companies in the circular chains within the Utrecht metropolitan region and the social added value. Our analysis shows that PRU and MRU are textbook examples of existing chains that are already (traditionally) organized to a high degree of circularity. Given their exemplary functions in the current system, but also as part of a future circular economy, maintaining PRU and MRU is important for achieving various policy goals of the Utrecht municipality and province, not least that of making Utrecht society more sustainable.

An important lesson and recommendation we have drawn from this study is that from a circular perspective, existing activity that already contributes significantly to the circular economy should be cherished and protected. The Netherlands has a highly efficient waste treatment and associated recycling system of various streams. Keep this system functional and maintained as well, and give businesses such as PRU and MRU a place.

If you would like to learn more about this study, see the PRU/MRU 4-pager for a concise overview or the final report for further depth.

22 July 2022

2 minute read

Key Experts

Jonas Kolenberg


Luc Heestermans


Wilbert Kroesen

Principal Consultant