Centre of Applied Research Technology


Collaborating on circular and biobased packaging


In the Circular Packaging project, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) is applying a new and proprietary methodology – Open Collaborative Business Modelling (OCBM) – in order to develop value proposals for circular and biobased packaging. The project, which is funded by SIA KIEM-ce (circular economy), is a collaborative effort between various parties within the packaging supply chain, aimed at strengthening the circular economy.


The use of biobased materials is essential to reducing the use of fossil plastics and – ultimately – to realising a fully circular economy. The specific value chain that the project focuses on is that of packaging based on elephant grass (Miscanthus), a crop grown in the Netherlands which can be used to manufacture a number of products, including paper and plastic.


The parties in the supply chain have been working on a circular business model for packaging using the OCBM method. On the one hand, this KIEM-ce project allows the fairly straightforward validation of the OCBM method in a specific sector – in this case the biobased packaging industry. On the other hand, the aim is to find a solution for that specific sector to the question of which value proposals and chain partners are needed to achieve a viable business model for biobased packaging based on elephant grass.

The OCBM method was developed in 2018, as part of a SURF PopUp project (funded by the NWO, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) as part of the general AUAS ambition to support Smart City projects with knowledge and tools. This takes place via the AUAS Smart City Academy.


Developments at a national and international level are increasingly putting pressure on the packaging industry to make product-packaging combinations more sustainable. Commitments such as the Plastic Pact have led to more and more companies seeking out sustainable alternatives to plastic. Material innovation could make a crucial contribution in this regard, such as offered by Vibers – a company (and project partner) that uses elephant grass as a raw material for products including packaging materials.

This project may be a stepping stone toward a larger research programme in which we wish to tackle issues related to the sustainability of packaging in a specific value chain. We expect to develop the network required within this project. We also wish to gain a better understanding of the issues that have arisen concerning the introduction of a new material and the collaboration between the various partners in the chain.


Students in the Industrial Design Engineering programme will be working on the aviation project in their second year. For their designs, students can use the Vibers material as one of the potential solutions. Industrial Engineering & Management students are contributing to identifying the stakeholders in the chain, as well as any threats and opportunities.


  • Vibers: Vibers has developed several biobased and biodegradable semi-products based on elephant grass, which is a fast-growing crop that absorbs four times the amount of carbon dioxide as one hectare of European forest.
  • KIDV: The Netherlands Institute for Sustainable Packaging (KIDV) advises and inspires businesses in the field of sustainable packaging. We also offer factual knowledge, current trends and practical tools.
  • Fasten: Fasten is a full-service cosmetics packaging manufacturer that offers in-house design, engineering, tooling, production, quality control and logistics.
  • Emma HBC: Emma Beauty and Care is a cosmetics innovator, which develops cosmetics products for partners.
  • AUAS: The professorship in Circular Design & Business at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) uses practice-based research to focus on developing circular design and business strategies specifically aimed at the reuse and recycling of residual materials.
16 June 2021

Project Info

Start date 01 Sep 2019
End date 01 Jun 2020


Nikki Groote Schaarsberg
Julia Planko