A future-proof economy deals with raw materials in a circular manner.


A good phosphate cycle is of major importance for society as phosphate is necessary for the production of our food. Specialists estimate the global supply of easily extractable phosphate to be sufficient to last for the next 75-100 years. We therefore need to learn how to recycle phosphate. Groene Cirkels is working towards the development and dissemination of knowledge about closing cycles, specifically with regard to phosphate. HEINEKEN produces large amounts of waste water which contains phosphate as a result of its beer production. At the same time, the brewery is dependent on phosphate fertilisation for the supply of its barley. Groene Cirkels is examining the possibilities for closing the phosphate cycle of the brewery. The extraction of phosphate from the waste water and the development of alternative forms of agriculture and water purification are topics for research.

Spent grain

Brewer's spent grain is a by-product of brewing and makes a good addition to the diet of dairy cattle (alongside grass and green fodder). HEINEKEN Zoeterwoude sells brewer's spent grain to dairy farmers in the Green Heart area. This removes the need for soya - which cows would otherwise be given - to be brought in from vulnerable areas.


This is the residual waste flow of materials remaining after the use of biomass and biogas. Digestate contains all the nutrients necessary for biomass formation and is therefore an ideal fertiliser and substitute for artificial fertiliser. Sustainable cultivation requires organic fertiliser for mineral suppletion. The digestate can therefore be used to good effect in sustainable arable farming, allowing the mineral cycle to be closed.

Residual waste flow

HEINEKEN Zoeterwoude has a wealth of experience with the reuse of its residual waste flows, and currently recycles 97% together with its suppliers and customers. Groene Cirkels will utilise this knowledge with and for businesses in the province of South Holland in order to improve the reuse of residual waste flows.