The "Ernest Lupan" Institute for Research in Circular Economy and Environment (IRCEM) is an independent non-governmental association from Cluj-Napoca in Romania. Its objectives are to facilitate, promote and support the circular economy and eco-efficient technological development in Romania.
In its role developing scientific research and innovation in various fields, including the circular economy, IRCEM has organised several thematic workshops and conferences:
- CERCurban - 3REUSE for an integrated circular economy (29 March 2019): During this event, CERCurban discussed the changes that will occur in terms of separate collection and recycling of waste in Cluj-Napoca, how we can integrate the circular economy into our lives, as well as educating the community and taking responsibility in this area. IRCEM organised 5 workshops on plastics, wood, textiles, waste creation and zero-waste living practices.
- Circular 4R Economy (21 May 2019): This was the second event in the 2019 series of Green Report Conferences, organised in partnership with the Ministry of Environment. This conference aimed to mobilise stakeholders in the area of industry and services, together with public actors and citizens, around the challenges and opportunities created by the development of a circular economy. Together with the guests and speakers, IRCEM informed the public about ways to encourage the repair, reuse and recycling of furniture, construction materials, electronics or other resources; development of the research and redesign sectors for products that cannot be repaired, reused, composted or recycled; facilitating the production of compost and biogas from biodegradable waste; implementation of correct and effective education programmes.
- Black Sea Advisory Council (22-23 May 2019): The Black Sea Investment Forum, coordinated by the Ministry of Transport at the Black Sea Naval Event, was aimed at supporting the efforts already under way to promote cooperation between countries in the area in the context of a common Black Sea agenda. IRCEM represented ECESP at the conference and presented the possibility of the circular strategy for critical infrastructure in the Black Sea region, which aims to support and stimulate investment and improve the EU's global business environment by reducing barriers to investment and promoting sustainable financing.
- Preparation of the circular economy strategy BUZĂU CIRCULAR CITY 2030 (9 October 2019): This project was aimed at creating a strategy to support the transition from the linear to the circular economy in Buzău, by involving all representative actors. All stakeholders were invited: business, public authorities, NGOs, as well as the citizens of Buzău to give IRCEM their point of view on the future priorities on which the city should focus in order to adopt the relevant principles. It was about the functioning of a circular city until 2030. Aspects related to the identification of problems of socio-cultural, economic and environmental interest were also discussed in order to find solutions.
- ACT4SCP Project – Circular Economy Summer School (16–25 October 2019): The course aimed to shed light on the importance of circular economy and ecology in relation to a healthy planet and support eco-responsible business education, with a focus on sustainable consumption and production practices and re-design. ACT4SCP 2019 provided an intensive and exciting educational programme that included lectures on the importance of circular economy and presented new methods for developing sustainable consumption and production, accompanied by interactive seminars and workshops, where the school’s participants acquired experience in exploring and working on these topics. Particular subjects that the school focused on included:
- Education and entrepreneurial measures in the circular economy
- Information on the importance of sustainable consumption and production for decision-makers and the relevant public
- Education in the field of sustainable consumption in the circular economy, introducing new methods for the development of sustainable consumption
- Entrepreneurship in the field of circular economy.
- Food waste in Romania and the role of food banks (24 October 2019): The topics discussed were based around food waste and supported by concrete examples provided by the Food Bank of Bucharest. Other topics addressed were: collected and distributed products, advantages and disadvantages of the legal framework for various services (transport and storage) and measures to support food banks. Good practices at European level were highlighted and the current national level solution for Romania was discussed. The Food Bank of Bucharest presented the results obtained under the Juncker plan and the action programme for the next 3 years for the establishment of the first national network of food banks, financially supported by LIDL. One of the key results of the Bucharest Food Bank in 2019 was the collection of around 609,000 kg of products, with a market value of over 7,945,000 lei. The collected products were distributed to over 100 NGOs that provide support to children, young people, the elderly, disadvantaged families, with a total of over 20,000 beneficiaries.
In February 2020, six events for Social start-up in circular economy were organised in cooperation between IRCEM, PRO XPERT S.R.L. and FIDELIAS in the following Romanian cities: ClujHUB, Cluj-Napoca (24.2.), Bistrița (25.2.), Zalău (26.2.), Baia Mare (27.2.), Satu Mare (28.2.) and Oradea (29.2.). At these events, IRCEM informed the audience about circular opportunities, and launched a business incubator for the north-western region of Romania. These activities are aimed at helping Romanian entrepreneurs start circular businesses. IRCEM will help them during the process by organising courses and giving advice related to circular economy.