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Frequently Asked Questions

Circular Economy

What is a Circular Economy?

Circular economy is an economic system that aims to minimise waste and maximise the use of resources by keeping materials in use for as long as possible, through strategies such as recycling, reuse, and repair. The circular economy aims to shift from a linear “take-make-dispose” model to a closed-loop system that promotes sustainability and environmental responsibility.

What is raw material scarcity?

The world faces increasing raw material scarcity. This refers to a situation where there is a limited supply of natural resources or materials that are necessary for producing goods and providing services. This scarcity is caused by various factors, such as overconsumption, depletion of resources, geopolitical conflicts, or disruptions in the supply chain. It can lead to higher prices, reduced availability of products, and in some cases, can result in the need to find alternative materials or technologies to replace the scarce resources.

In Europe especially, the need for alternative materials, technologies and systems is undoubtedly present. Europe lacks abundant resources of raw materials and fossil fuels. To ensure a future with European production of goods and services, a different view on producing, consuming and end of uses is needed. The circular economy presents a solution by focusing on material recuperation, recycling and refurbishing products and materials instead of incinerating.

How and where are Cirmar values supported by ISO?

Cirmar applications empower a wide range of standards. These are amongst others, ISO 14000 family for Environmental Management and EN 15804/ISO 21930 for Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). The ISO 14000 family covers a wide range of Environmental Management standards. These standards include ISO/TC 207/SC 1 Environmental Management Systems [1], ISO/TC 207/SC 3 Environmental Labelling [2], ISO/TC 207/SC 4 Environmental Performance Evaluation [3], ISO/TC 207/SC 5 Life Cycle Assessment [4] and ISO/TC 207/SC 6 Greenhouse Gas Management [5]. The ISO 14000 family standards are (general) guidelines to ensure well-implemented Environmental Management Systems within an organisation. Cirmar applications, and databases, empower and support ISO 14000 family standardisation by not only tracking, sharing and exposing environmental impact, from component to end-product (C_passport©), but also adhering to standardisation to ensure synchronisation and coordination between circularity, standardisation and management systems.


What are SDG’s?

The SDGs, or Sustainable Development Goals, are a set of 17 global goals established by the United Nations in 2015. They provide a framework for addressing various social, economic, and environmental challenges to achieve a more sustainable and equitable world by the year 2030. The SDGs build upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and aim to address their unfinished agenda, while also incorporating new challenges such as climate change, inequality, and sustainable consumption.

sustainable development goals

For more information on the SDG’s, visit

Why does Cirmar support the SDG’s?

There are hundreds of sustainability certificates, trademarks and score-systems. As useful as they might be, Cirmar believes speaking a common language is essential to create large scale circular solutions. That is why our tools allow you to indicate what SDG’s you support with your products and services. The SDG’s were first drawn-up and published by the United Nations, and apply to everyone and everything on our planet. By supporting the application of the SDG’s, Cirmar helps you take meaningful steps towards realizing these worldwide goals.


Why should I use C_passport®?

With C_passport®, you can create a detailed step-by-step understanding of structure of your product(s), assembly, and next use. You can add instructions on reverse logistics, dismantling and recycling. Derived from the input material and end-of-use treatment, the system automatically calculates emissions. Within C_passport® you can lay the groundworks for further circular improvement and safeguard the end-of-use treatment of your product. This way you maintain quality and value in one easy-to-use system.

How do I create my first C_passport®?

Making a digital product passport using Cirmar couldn’t be easier. You can sign up for free and try out C_passport® here. After creating an account you can login following the directions in the e-mail. Our free trial allows you to make two passports and test out how it works, looks and feels. On the cockpit in the application our Cirmar assistant will take you through the steps of creating your first passport with a video tutorial!

Like it? You can upgrade easily by filling in some extra information using the button top right. Need some more time? Feel free to use your free trial passports as long as you like.

What KPI’s are included in Cirmar’s tech tools?

The KPI’s displayed in Cirmar represent (with two exceptions) the improvement/savings compared to products made of exclusively virgin materials that are incinerated at the end of their use period. The KPI’s are:
– CO2 (in kg’s)
– Water use (in liters)
– Energy (in kWh)
– Raw materials saved (in kg’s)
– CO2 price (connected to CO2-emissions)
– Social Return On Investment (to be filled in manually, in minutes/hours)

What are the dominant material groups?

All materials in Cirmar’s database are categorised in four groups: minerals, biogenics, metals and plastics. When recording the materials that compose a component or product, you first choose the dominant material groups, to then fill in the exact underlying materials:


How do I fill in the end of use treatment?

You fill in the end of use treatment either in the basic information section of the passport.

If you are creating a product of end product passport that has underlying components, you can select ‘let the system calculate the end of use treatment based on lower assembly levels’. It does exactly what it says:

How do I decide what the end of use treatment of products and components is?

This is not set in stone. You can decide to only fill in what you have organised: if you have your own recycling and refurbishment schemes, you fill those in. Otherwise, its incineration.

On the other hand, you can also decide to fill in the end of use treatment that is organised through public systems. Think of the paper and plastic recycling streams.

We advise to do both. If you have your own dedicated reverse logistics and recycling streams – record them. If you can reasonably assume that materials are recovered through public systems – record those. Our customers are responsible for accurate recording of end of use treatment. With regard to reporting and compliance, we advise you elaborate on your end of use by adding information in the ‘extra information’-tab.

What is the difference between the internal and the public passport?

Every passport comes with both an internal version, and a public version.

The internal passport shows all elements that our users have recorded. From the description all the way to the material composition and end of use.

The public version is accessible through the QR code that is automatically generated by creating a passport, or through the public URL:

This public passport differs in a few ways:

  • Our users can apply their own look and feel, to incoporate the passport in their own branding.
  • Our users can decide whether they want to communicate all information, or not. You can imagine some companies may not want to show their material composition, as it contains classified information.

What are passport groups?

Passport groups are a means of organising your C_passports®. As you are creating passports, you can add them directly to one or more passport groups. You can also create passport groups to then add the specific passports to them.

Calculating impact: Scopes and Methods

Is there a standard for impact calculations?

Strictly speaking: no. Sustainability is substantiated by a wide range of impact calculations, labels and trademarks. Though we see value in each of these, there currently is no single standard for defining how sustainable a product or service is.

We do not expect a standard to arise. At least not one that will encompass all sectors. Every sector applies its own specific calculations and methods. Cirmar has clients in various sectors, and our system accomodates the needs of all these different companies.

Even though we expect no universal standard, we do actively seek to contribute to the establishment of a common language regarding impact calculations. We propose: focus on materials as major contributor to emissions, with a scope that represents circular impact. 

What is the scope of an impact calculation?

The scope of impact calculations describes what stages of a product’s use cycle are included. Some scopes only include the activities and associated impacts up to the moment a product leaves the factory (cradle to gate), where others calculate up to the moment a product is in the hands of a customer (cradle to customer). As you can imagine, these variations in scope result in differing impact figures. In the image below you can find some of the commonly used scopes when calculating impact:

impact scopes

Important note: these impact scopes differ from the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Scopes. Read more about those in the answer to the question below. 

What is the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and its scopes?

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) is a framework for accounting and reporting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The GHG Protocol is structured into three distinct scopes, which classify emissions sources:

  1. Scope 1 Emissions: These are direct emissions originating from an organisation’s own operations. They encompass activities like on-site fuel combustion, industrial processes, and chemical reactions, which are directly controlled or owned by the organisation.
  2. Scope 2 Emissions: These are indirect emissions tied to purchased electricity, heat, or steam. They result from energy generation by a third party, such as a utility company.
  3. Scope 3 Emissions: These encompass all other indirect emissions from activities related to an organisation’s operations but not directly controlled or owned. Examples include emissions from the supply chain, employee commuting, business travel, and product usage by customers.

What scope does Cirmar apply in its calculations?

Cirmar calculates emissions starting at raw material extraction and ending at the start of a new cycle, with the same amount of material. This includes sourcing, production, transport, energy use, as well as the emissions associated with the end-of-use treatment of materials (incineration, refurbishment and recycling). This is a calculation of Circular impact: the emissions associated with having to use the same amount of materials in a new use cycle. We refer to this Circular impact calculation as LCA+.

What is a LCA+?

LCA+ (Life Cycle Assessment Plus) is a measurement method for sustainability that calculates emissions. It represents an extended scope compared to regular Life Cycle Assessments (LCA). Where LCA’s often look at the impact of products cradle-to-grave, or cradle-to-customer, LCA+ extends this scope to include the first step of a next use cycle. In other words: what does it take to create the exact same product or service a second time?  The more materials you recycle or refurbish, the bigger the positive impact compared to a product that is incinerated at the end of every use cycle. This extensive scope is therefore a more accurate representation of circularity and allows for internal and external communication of the emissions of products and services.

How does LCA+ compare to scope 3 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG)?

Scope 3 of the GHG Protocol focuses on greenhouse gas emissions, in many cases just CO2. Additionally, Scope 3 looks primarily at impacts of in-house operations, distribution and post-use processing. Here, the impact of the materials used is limited and included within the mentioned system boundary. Essentially, the Scope 3 system boundary is still quite close to a company’s own operations. Often, but not always, only one step upstream is included in the scope.
In contrast, LCA+ by Cirmar starts at raw material extraction and ends at the start of a new cycle, with the same amount of material.

What is a LCA?

A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a systematic process for evaluating the environmental impact of a product, service, or process throughout one life cycle. Contrary to a digital product passport, which is a live document that can be supplemented and updated over time, an LCA is a one-of document. LCA’s consider factors like energy consumption, resource use, emissions, and waste generation. The amount of KPI’s that express these emissions differ between the various scopes that are applied. Additionally, the various sectors in which LCA’s are performed apply differing KPI’s.

Cirmar acknowledges the value of regular LCA’s, but extends their scope to calculate circular impact. We believe this method, called LCA+ , is not only a more accurate tool to monitor sustainable progress, it takes less time to create insights and easier to scale.

Do you want to know more about our LCA+? Check out this article!


Why should I use C_dashboard®?

With C_dashboard®, you can create an overview of your progress and outcomes. You can do so for one or more products. Quantify costs, revenues, and positive impact. Present and communicate the results of your circular transition process and impress your customers with impact data at a glance.

What do the KPI’s represent in C_dashboard®?

The KPI’s you find right below the dashboard description represent the total impact of the products added to the dashboard. You can use this to demonstrate to customers what the impact is of their purchase of a selection of products, or to create insights into the impact of your own products.

What is the total composition of materials in C_dashboard®?

In C_dashboard®, you will find directly below the KPI’s, the total composition of materials based on the products you added. You will recognise this from C_passport®, as this material composition distinguishes between material groups and specific materials. If you change the material composition in C_passport®, C_dashboard® will automatically change this total material composition as well.

What does it cost to use C_dashboard®?

C_dashboard® is completely free of charge. You pay for the passports you use, but there is no limit to the amount or functionalities you want to use in C_dashboard®.

How can I compare products in C_dashboard®

An important use of the dashboard is to help you and your customers compare products. Add products you want to compare, and create insights into their material composition:

Use the toggle to switch to impact figures:


Where do Cirmar’s impact figures come from?

  • Impact figures are calculated based on the indicated weights in C_passport®.
  • The numbers we calculate with come from a worldwide database of averages, acknowledged and validated by knowledge institutes.
  • If a company uses a specific material with an impact that is substantially different (lower) than the averages, this material is included in the Cirmar database separately (with specific name, brand, and deviating impact figures).
  • If input material is recycled, it is given a recognisable name and the associated impacts of using that material are lower.
  • If the end-of-use treatment of a product or material is incineration, it will generate some energy yield which lowers the overall energy impact. But consequentially, CO2 impact rises and materials are lost.
  • If the end-of-use treatment of a product or material is recycling or refurbishment, the associated impact figures for these processes is added to the total impact of a product. However, since (depending on the effectiveness of these processes) only a small portion of new material is needed for the next use cycle (let’s say 10 per cent), much less new material is needed for the next use cycle, which in turn causes overall impact figures to decrease.

Who owns the product data in Cirmar?

Our clients remain owner of their own data. If you decide to stop using Cirmar’s tech tools, you are able to retrieve any data you entered and we will delete them from Cirmar.


What does Cirmar cost?

The costs of using Cirmar depend on the amount of passports you are actively using, as well as the number of users. Simply put: the more passports you make, the cheaper each passport becomes. For detailed information on prices and billing, check out our pricing-page.