Upcycle Mall Rotterdam feasibility study

The background

The municipality of Rotterdam wants to take its reuse of products and materials to a higher level. An important pillar of this goal is a new environmental park due to be built, called the Upcycle Mall. Together with our partner EME, Copper8 provided insight into what the possibilities, costs, benefits and risks of such an innovative environmental park would be.


The municipality of Rotterdam has big ambitions in the field of sustainability and circularity: by 2030, circularity must be the benchmark, and the municipality wants to be fully circular by 2050. Processing and reusing household waste is critical for achieving these goals. Because of this, the municipality wants to build an environmental park where (high-quality) waste recycling is made visible. However, before the Upcycle Mall is built, the municipality wants insight into the possibilities, advantages and disadvantages of circularity in an environmental park like this.

The question

Give us an insight into the costs, benefits, possibilities and risks of the Upcycle Mall for the municipality.

Current situation and future

Include the following aspects in your research:

  1. Which material flows are suitable for higher forms of reuse, and what the financial, environmental and social benefits of that reuse are;
  2. Which obstacles or opportunities there are legally, organizationally and in terms of attractiveness. Talk to entrepreneurs, similar initiatives and stakeholders within the municipality about this;
  3. Develop a dynamic business case model that the municipality can use as an assessment framework to compare different scenarios on a financial, environmental and social level.

The process

The first, and largest, part of the research was divided into two components. In the first component, the quantity, processors, current processing and possible alternative processing were made transparent for relevant material flows. This created an image of which flows are promising for higher-quality processing. Then the financial and environmental impacts of different processing for relevant flows were calculated. In the second component, interviews were held with entrepreneurs, similar initiatives and stakeholders within the municipality. This provided insight into the advantages and disadvantages of the Upcycle Mall for various stakeholders. These two components then formed the input for drafting a dynamic business case model.

The results

The municipality has a report with recommendations based on all the insights gained during the research. This report contains a step-by-step plan to implement the Upcycle Mall. Finally, we also delivered a dynamic business case model (including manual) that the municipality can use to compare various scenarios of processing and design of the Upcycle Mall.

“The feasibility study provides us with new insights and substantiates existing insights that are very useful for the design and further realization of the new environmental park. The collaboration with Copper8 was a very pleasant experience with driven colleagues.” Marloes Nooijens Upcycle Mall Project Manager

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