The overall objective of BIORECOVER is the research and development of a new sustainable and safe process, essentially based on biotechnology, for selective extraction of a wide range of critical raw materials (CRMs) such as Rare Earths, Magnesium or Platinum Group Metals.
This case study is a part of the MBB LIFE+ Investing in Water project. APS Bank decided to invest in a holistic on-site water conservation programme. The aim of the programme was to put the bank’s sustainability policy into practice, reduce operational costs and help conserve scarce national resources.
Our industries and our current way of life make us produce more and more in an "ephemeral" way. We throw away big amounts of raw materials that we could easily reuse and launch back in the circular economy.
Parapluiestandupcycling decided to retrieve the fabric of broken umbrellas and to create a utility garment out of it.
The PLATIRUS project seeks to address the European shortage of Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) by recovering PGMs from alternative secondary resources. It has the potential to offer a substitute for a large proportion of these critical raw materials which are becoming ever more scarce.
ETV4INNOVATION is a two-and-a-half-year long European Commission funded vocational education and training Strategic Partnership project under Erasmus+ programme. It has been designed with the aim to support the development and the implementation of an innovative practice and a new training path in the field of Environmental Technology Verification (ETV).
In 2018, the City of Antwerp kick-started the Circular South project. The aim is to encourage more efficient use of energy, water, waste and materials by the citizens of the New South district of Antwerp through an innovative community-driven approach.
Expertise in technology, medicine and the social sciences
Rare Earth Elements (REEs) are considered as "key enablers" of green technologies. However, they are also the elements with the highest supply risk.
The EU funded project REE4EU has developed processes that may help to regain REEs from RE-containing waste streams.
The EU Guidelines for the feed use of food no longer intended for human consumptionare an integral part of the communication Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy.
They were developed by the Commission in close cooperation with the food, feed, animal health and environmental authorities of the Member States and the members of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste, as well as other stakeholders.
The valorisation of the nutrients of food which, for commercial reasons or owing to problems of manufacturing, is no longer intended for human consumption, but can be safely used in animal nutrition, prevents these materials from being composted, transformed in biogas or disposed of by incineration or landfilling.
Available in all EU languages by following the Official Journal link, these guidelines should assist the national and local competent authorities, as well as the operators in the food chain, in applying the relevant EU legislation. Legal clarity is therefore enhanced and examples of best practices that are in compliance with the current EU regulatory framework are presented while preventing unnecessary administrative burden.
The report ‘Circular Economy in the Furniture Sector: Overview of Current Challenges and Competence Needs’, provides an overview on how the circular economy is currently being implemented within the furniture sector.
By focusing on existing practices, challenges and opportunities at the micro-level, the main objective of this report is to identify the necessary skills and competences needed to support the transformation of furniture companies towards a circular economy.
Project partners identified 25 furniture companies active in the circular economy throughout Europe.
Interviews, held between March and May 2018 in Belgium, Finland, Germany, Spain, France, The Netherlands, Italy and Sweden, yielded insights on the necessary skills and competences needed to develop circular business models relevant for the furniture industry.
Finally, 10 examples of circular furniture cases are presented in the report. Examples show companies from different EU countries that have implemented different actions to work towards the circularity of the company, as well as specific examples of furniture products that are sustainable.
As part of the Circular Economy Action Plan, the Commission is examining ways to improve the use of date marking by actors in the food chain and its understanding by consumers, in particular "best before" labelling. Better understanding and use of date marking on food, i.e. "use by" and "best before" dates, by all actors concerned, can prevent and reduce food waste in the EU.
In order to help inform its work on date marking, the Commission launched a study to map how date marking is used in the market by food business operators and control authorities.
The market study found wide variation in date marking practices within product categories surveyed in the EU. The legibility of date marks was judged to be poor for 11% of products sampled. The study highlights the role that strengthened cooperation and innovation in the food supply chain can play in preventing food waste and finds that additional guidance may be needed to facilitate food redistribution past the "best before" date.
Based on the study's findings, the authors conclude that avoidable food waste linked to date marking is likely to be reduced where:
a date mark is present, its meaning is clear and it is legible;
consumers have a good understanding of the meaning of date marking (and the difference between "use by" as an indicator of safety and "best before" as an indicator of quality);
"use by" dates are used only where there is a safety-based rationale for doing so, consistent with the Regulation on Food Information to Consumers
the product life stated on the packaging is consistent with the findings of safety and quality tests, and is not shortened unnecessarily by other considerations, such as product marketing;
storage and open life guidance are consistent with the findings of safety and quality tests;
there is a level of consistency in storage of food at retail and guidance for consumers regarding the temperatures at which products should be stored in the home.
Electric vehicles are a key technology to decarbonise the road transport sector and their use is expected to increase, thereby increasing demand for lithium-ion batteries. This makes developing a full value chain for batteries in Europe a priority, particularly the recycling of lithium-ion batteries where Europe is at an advantage as a market leader.
What will happen to this huge number of batteries at their end-of-life and how the valuable materials within each battery can be recovered and recycled are important questions for EU policymakers, as is information on the impacts of developing a lithium-ion battery recycling industry within the EU.
As part of the wider CIRCULAR IMPACTS project, which looks at the economic, employment and societal impacts of shifting towards a circular economy, this case study examines the impacts of managing electric-vehicle lithium-ion batteries reaching their end-of-life in the years to come. It concludes that increasing the collection and recycling efficiency rates of electric vehicle batteries in the EU can mitigate dependence on imported materials and help to retain the value of recovered materials in the EU economy. Further potential benefits include job creation in the lithium-ion recycling sector, while recycling certain materials, as opposed to extracting the raw material, may mitigate CO2 emissions.
The circular economy is more than a potential model for Luxembourg; it is an economic imperative. Due to its history of exhausting resources then finding substitutes, Luxembourg is already a testing ground for circularity methods. For example its steel, aluminum, glass, and other industries are expert at re-using secondary raw materials. The re-use of those materials is core to their economic survival. It is a competitive necessity to sharpen their capacities in those areas.
Because Luxembourg’s exemplary European society is based on equity, cultural tolerance, economic stability, responsive government and manageable size, the country is a powerful proving ground for circularity. Its heritage of quality and its service-based economy allow leveraging of skills to take advantage of the embedded growth potential. The likely benefits for Luxembourg are considerable. The starting position is excellent. The capabilities and motivation seem to be in place. It is now only a question of providing a nucleus and initial catalyst to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy at scale. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Ministry of the Economy in particular have powerful roles to play as catalysts for circularity.
In the present situation where knowledge of circular economy potential is low but know-how for supporting technology and services is high, the government has a special brief opportunity to seize the initiative by delivering powerful messages about circularity through initiating and coordinating actions, as well as supporting those with a solid foundation of education, training and national co-branding. By leveraging those mechanisms the government will provide the enabling framework for its stakeholders to implement a circular economy with innovative lighthouse initiatives.
Despite resource efficiency improving 41% between 2000 and 2016,with the Circular Economy Package and the initiatives set out in the accompanying Action Plan nearing completion, the EU institutions must acknowledge that the move to a more resource efficient or “circular” economy will take time. To invest in new business models, more resource-efficient processes and new supply chains for good quality secondary materials, businesses need the assurance that the resource efficiency agenda will remain a priority for the EU in the long term.
This briefing sets out a range of policy recommendations that the Aldersgate Group believe EU institutions should continue to pursue beyond completion of the Circular Economy Package to scale up business action on resource efficiency. These recommendations are based on business case studies, including some developed as part of the EU LIFE+ funded REBus project, which began in 2013 and on which the Aldersgate Group is a partner. By the end of 2016, pilots taking part in the REBus project (many of which involved SMEs), had already delivered a financial benefit of €5.62m, material savings in excess of 62,000 tonnes and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of just under 2,000 tonnes. These benefits have continued to grow since.
Recommendations based on the report's findings include:
Pursuing work to include resource efficiency design criteria in product standards by delivering on the commitment to publish an updated Ecodesign Working Plan once a year and rapidly broadening the range of products subject to resource efficiency design criteria;
Promote business innovation on resource efficiency, through continued financial support for business trials and broadening the sectors that receive technical support through the Commission’s Innovation Deals;
Expand the use of circular economy criteria in the public procurement of a broadening range of products and encourage their application across EU Member States and EU institutions;
Encourage Member States to develop pricing mechanisms that support material re-use where it is environmentally effective to do so; and
Ensure a consistent implementation of the Circular Economy Package in different Member States. This is especially important in terms of the improved definitions of “waste” currently being negotiated by all three EU institutions, which must ensure that materials are no longer classified as “waste” when they can be re-used safely.
Circular City Governance - An explorative research study presents the results of an empirical research study into current barriers and governance practices in circular city transitions across Europe carried out by a team from the Radboud University Nijmegen School of Management (NL). The research activities ran from October to December 2017. The main objective of the study was to support the European Investment Bank (EIB) and other members of the Urban Agenda Partnership on Circular Economy involved in the working group on “Circular City Governance” (CCG) with the identification, analysis and elaboration of actions in support of Circular Governance in Cities, particularly through better knowledge and better funding. At the time this report was completed, the UAPCE’s Action Plan had been recently published for public consultation.
The research study follows an empirical approach primarily focussed on the identification of (i) the most common barriers and challenges that are encountered by cities seeking to promote the circular economy, and (ii) the most important governance interventions cities have taken to initiate and advance in the transition to a circular city. This information was drawn from the analysis of selected case studies of circular economy projects in urban environments, various publicly available circular economy strategies, plans prepared by cities and interviews with experts and officials of front-runner cities that have embraced the CE agenda across Europe. The results of this research study should contribute towarads improving the general knowledge basis on the promotion of the CE in cities by presenting the experiences and main lessons learnt by cities at the forefront of the CE agenda.
The World Economic Forum’s Future of Urban Development and Services Initiative has released its new White Paper on the Circular Economy in Cities: evolving the model for a sustainable urban future.
This White Paper traces the conceptual underpinnings of the Circular Economy, and explains why cities are key to accelerating the transition away from the traditional ‘take-make-dispose’ model. It draws on examples from cities around the world in areas that include: channelling used building materials to new building sites, water harvesting and reuse, reducing energy use, electronic waste, healthcare and procurement. It explains the opportunities in the Circular Economy for all stakeholders and the ways in which they can work together at city level.
This report, commissioned by DG GROW and prepard by Technopolis and Franhofer ISI, identified major obstacles of regulatory nature or gaps within the existing legal framework where significant unlocked opportunities remain. The study includes an in-depth analysis of the identified obstacles and possible solutions through specific cases.
The analysis of specific regulatory barriers includes the full product lifecycle and focuses on the interfaces between different steps of the value chain (extraction/production, production/production internal loops, production/use, collection, waste-management/recycling/production). Barriers can be categorised within these 3 themes:
Several case studies identified regulatory barriers often related to lacking legislation that would allow the collection and pre-treatment of homogenous waste streams.
The second type of barrier refers to legislation that hinders the use of recycled materials in production processes.
The third type of barrier is related to the lack of concrete and enforceable product requirements.
The analysis also highlights a variety of different generic types of barriers: in many cases waste legislation focuses on quantities (weight based collection or recycling targets) and not so much on the qualities of recycled materials. Inconsistencies between existing regulations, e.g. related to REACH or End-of-Waste criteria, have also been mentioned in a variety of case studies.
The study concludes that in general, high-quality recycling is definitely not prevented by regulatory obstacles, but by lacking or unclear legislation. Prime examples are End-of-Waste criteria or quality standards for secondary raw materials that create legal uncertainties for the industry that make it rational to continue to focus on primary raw material input.
The Relooping Fashion Initiative (2015-2017) was aimed at piloting and modelling the circular business ecosystem for textiles. This report covers the business ecosystem modelling work and introduces the project team’s crystallized vision of a higher-level system that enables the textiles industry to operate according to the basic principles of a circular economy.
The focus of the report is on explaining the principles of a circular economy in the context of textiles, and drawing a picture of the key material flows and types of actors along the value cycles from end-user back to end-user. The overall goal is to maintain the value of materials as high as possible, with minimum environmental impact. The different circular business models for textiles are introduced along the value cycles. The report covers 1) repair and maintenance, 2) re-use as product, 3) re-use as material, and 4) recycling-related activities, and business models for post-consumer/user textiles along the entire value chain.
All these processes need to work seamlessly together for the circular business ecosystem to function effectively. New recycling technologies are crucial to solving the global textile waste problem, and to be able to replace some of the virgin materials such as cotton with recycled textile materials. The report also discusses the topic of shared value creation in the circular economy context.
CINDERELA invites you to this webinar on 14 July 2020 (9:30-11:30 CEST). The EU-funded project will present "CINDERELA One-Stop-Shop" (CinderOSS), its new digital platform for actors involved in chains for urban construction works with the use of secondary raw materials (SRM) recovered from local/regional waste streams.
How can circularity help solve sustainability problems and what does it mean for IT products? How can it be implemented on the ground, when you procure and use IT products? These and other questions will be answered in an event organised by TCO development on 22nd September to deep-dive into the topic of Circular IT Management in Practice.
In the framework of Furn 360, a European project aimed at developing a training curriculum to facilitate the implementation of circularity in the furniture sector, a webinar will be held to share insights on the current state of circular economy in the sector, with representatives from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the European Furniture Industries Confederation.
The annual European Week for Waste Reduction Awards Ceremony is organised online on 25 June at 14:00 CEST to reward the most outstanding waste prevention initiatives carried out during the last edition.
The International Society for Circular Economy (IS4CE) - a new academic society for the circular economy - is organising the inaugural International Online Conference on Circular Economy, to be held in cooperation with the Exeter Centre for Circular Economy (ECCE), University of Exeter, Exeter, UK, on 6-7 July 2020.
This Policy Dialogue will explore the interlinkages between the transition to a more circular economy and quality jobs, drawing on Circle Economy’s recent report on Jobs & Skills in the Circular Economy: State of Play and future Pathways.
In response to increasing demand for online training, AIMPLAS has prepared 4 free webinars on themes related to plastics: solutions in the medical sector, new recycling technologies, quality control in the automotive industry and reduction of CO2 emissions.