The slow flower movement is growing in Europe and aims to provide local, seasonal and organic flowers. Why? Because the international flower industry is very harmful to nature and has major negative impacts in developing countries.
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Under the framework of the INSIGHT project, a Blueprint has been developed to provide specific recommendations on how to promote the application of Industrial Symbiosis and its facilitation to various stakeholders, as well as a roadmap of how the organisations are expected to apply the IS principles, by making use of educational specific inputs and resources.
The project, funded under Horizon 2020, aims to develop a systemic circular approach to floor coverings.
ReCreate pushes towards circular construction by investigating the system changes needed in the whole ecosystems of construction and demolition.
The Italian Cartiera is an ethical fashion workshop founded in Lama di Reno, Marzabotto in 2017 which makes leather and fabric items.
Believing strongly that work is an extraordinary tool for social inclusion, Cartiera offers paths for employment and integration of disadvantaged people, mainly refugees and asylum seekers.
AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, has now completed the fourth and final year of the RepescaPlas project. The project has developed a complete management system for plastic waste recovered from the sea and subsequent recycling into products of commercial value.
Clear Fashion, independant expert of garment evaluation, is a solution that informs consumers on brands' practices and clothes' impact, and enables fashion brands to communicate their scores, in order to bring more transparency in the fashion industry.
Industrial CO2 emissions transformed into paints, varnishes and adhesives for footwear and furniture
The PUCO2 project, led by AIDIMME, AIMPLAS and INESCOP, uses research and development to combat global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Seventeen companies have taken part in the project, which will also be relevant to producers of adhesives for related sectors, as well as the textile, automotive and toy industries.
To solve some challenges in the port environment, Blue Room Innovation is developing a solution based on blockchain technology: PortNet. It is a blockchain-powered waste management solution for greener, more efficient ports. A WastePassport has also been developed that connects waste disposed in port reception facilities to treatment plants.
RECICLOS provides incentives for recycling cans and plastic beverage bottles. Its main objective is to increase and improve recycling of these objects by introducing rewards that motivate people to do so. When people recycle using the RECICLOS app, they receive points that can be exchanged for sustainable prizes or used for local projects.
The Großes Walsertal region has developed a Circular Economy Strategy: it has set itself the objective of introducing circularity at every stage of the value chain, from production to consumption, repair and waste management. Smart product design and increased recycling and reuse activities will contribute to gradually close the loop of each product life-cycle in the region.
The Großes Walsertal communities act as role models by sharing tools, offering vouchers for local food stores (as part of the leisure activities funding) and implementing binding green criteria for events organised on their territory.
PlasticFreER is the Plan approved by the Emilia Romagna region (IT) Executive in 2019 for a shared strategy with public bodies, businesses, trade unions, associations and the scientific community to free offices, canteens, festivals and parties from disposable plastic and clean up public spaces, rivers, sea and beaches.
- A common path in 15 actions for an increasingly circular and sustainable economy.
- Reconvert, reduce and clean up: three pillars of the rule approved by the regional government which translate into support, with funds and incentives, for the conversion of companies producing plastic - particularly single-use.
- Aid to public bodies and private individuals who decide to reduce their use and a special cleaning project to remove waste from the beds of waterways/sea.
Saccharides are a valuable and readily available source of renewable carbon. There are unique opportunities to produce renewable intermediate chemicals and polymers from regionally available agricultural products and imported feedstock in the period up to 2050.
Industry in the Chemport region (Northern Netherlands) has several options to further reduce CO2 emissions, including recycling or circular chemistry and shifting towards bio-based feedstock, acting as a catalyzer for other industries.
Important focus areas of the saccharide roadmap are:
- developing technologies/markets
- strengthening/expanding feedstock production
- developing incentives/regulations
- further developing an integrated approach, cooperating and improving the knowledge base.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia has developed a Roadmap for the circular economy in Serbia, a document that aims to bring together, connect and promote all those actors whose knowledge, innovativeness and creativity can contribute to a faster transition to the circular economy.
The roadmap seeks to encourage the private sector to use circular business models and to motivate industry to create new jobs, as well as to inspire a shift in business operations through the introduction of innovative and sustainable solutions. The roadmap has been developed by the Circular Economy Platform for Sustainable Development in Serbia project, which was initiated and implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy fulfils the commitment in the Programme for Irish Government to publish and start implementing a new National Waste Action Plan. This new national waste policy will inform and give direction to waste planning and management in Ireland over the coming years. It will be followed later this year by an All of Government Circular Economy Strategy. The need to embed climate action in all strands of public policy aligns with the goals of the European Green Deal.
The policy document contains over 200 measures across various waste areas including Circular Economy, Municipal Waste, Consumer Protection and Citizen Engagement, Plastics and Packaging, Construction and Demolition, Textiles, Green Public Procurement and Waste Enforcement.
The City of Helsinki’s Roadmap for Circular and Sharing Economy is one of the 147 actions in the Carbon-neutral Helsinki 2035 Action Plan.
The roadmap includes the following four focuses:
- green waste and
- sharing economy and new business opportunities in the circular economy.
The goals for each focus are set until 2035, with interim goals and supporting practical actions for each one.
Reducing plastic consumption and increasing the use of recycled plastic are among the main topics of the roadmap.
This roadmap is the result of debates in workshops with experts from both inside and outside the City. A team of representatives of the City’s Environmental Services coordinated the work.
The aim of Poland's Roadmap towards the Transition to the Circular Economy (CE), which was adopted in 2019, is twofold: first, to identify cross-cutting measures capable of having the broadest possible impact in Poland, both socially and economically; and second, to prioritise areas that will enable Poland to take advantage of its current opportunities, and to deal with existing or future challenges.
The Roadmap focusses on 5 areas in particular:
- Sustainable industrial production
- Sustainable consumption
- New business models
- implementation, monitoring and financing of CE.
The Roadmap includes a set of tools, which are not purely legislative, to create the conditions for a new economic model in Poland.
In 2019 the European Commission set out a policy guideline to address global environmental challenges and circularity. EURATEX and its members welcome the ambition of the EU Institutions to change the old way and commit to engage with all relevant parties to deliver and implement a new Textile Strategy to boost the circular economy and be fit for the present and future generations.
This strategy by EURATEX is a starting point, with insights into solutions based on a 14-month consultation with members, involving over 100 companies and key stakeholders, focused on applied circular practices and future opportunities. It prioritises removing barriers to a large-scale uptake of circular economy in textiles, sets out 12 key points and puts forward 38 proposals.
Aragón Circular is an economic strategy that aims to boost the circular economy in the entire region of Aragon. Its objective is to create a political, economic, and social framework that will allow Aragon to move towards an innovative circular economy. Furthermore, this strategy will generate high-quality employment and provide the backbone for the territory.
At the beginning of June 2020 the Spanish Government published España Circular 2030, the new Strategy for Circular Economy in Spain until 2030. It contains circular economy objectives and a series of strategic orientations for the period 2020-2030.
- sets up a series of objectives for 2020-2030 which will, inter alia, allow a 30% reduction in the national consumption of resources and a 15% reduction in waste generation (as compared to 2010);
- contributes to Spain's efforts to transition to a sustainable, decarbonized, resource-efficient and competitive economy;
- takes the form of successive three-year action plans providing for concrete measures to deliver on circular economy.
The goal of this study was to investigate the feasibility for Smart Integrated Decentralised Energy (SIDE) systems to contribute to the resilience, flexibility and circularity of the Dutch national power system infrastructure. The energy sector plays a crucial role in tackling the challenge of transitioning into a circular, renewable energy-based economy. For this reason, the Dutch government has decided to quintuple renewable power generation by 2030.
Thanks to recent developments in renewable energy technologies such as batteries, heat pumps and solar panels, but also biodigesters in which organic waste and black water are collected providing an alternative heating source, it is now possible to produce, convert and store energy locally within so-called microgrids.
Low-carbon technologies and Russian imports: how far can recycling reduce the EU's raw materials dependency?
Low-carbon technologies and Russian imports: how far can recycling reduce the EU's raw materials dependency?
Russia is among the larger suppliers of raw materials to the EU. It is the biggest world supplier for palladium, platinum and nickel, and a prominent one for aluminium and copper. The country still holds large untapped reserves of rare-earth elements.
This paper provides an overview of EU import dependency on raw materials and Russia’s share among EU sources of key supplies for low-carbon technologies. It then looks at prospects for meeting future material demands through circularity for three technologies, namely lithium-ion batteries, wind turbines and fuel cell electric vehicles.
The analysis is based on two scenarios with different levels of ambition. They aim to give an indication of the scale of potential benefits that can be achieved through circular approaches.
Research: best criteria for the new EU strategy for sustainable textiles and the Ecodesign directive
This research project lists ecodesign criteria for circular fashion and textiles.
It focused on giving consumer textiles a longer lifespan with optimal reuse potential, making disassembly and recovery possible, and exploring upcycling and high-quality recycling. Extending the life of textile products turned out to have the greatest impact in the short term. Quality seems to be the most impactful ecodesign criterion when it comes to improving the sustainability and circularity of consumer textiles as quickly as possible.
The project defined seven product categories, identifying a set of minimum criteria for each. The report looks at existing labels, standards and regulations and the authors hope it will help expand the Ecodesign Directive by adding a textile category.
This report, prepared by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, provides an analysis of the Dutch procurement system.
The Dutch Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) approach embraces six themes, two of which are explored in this study: climate-neutral procurement and circular procurement. Included in these two themes are aspects such as CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the reuse of raw materials at the highest possible level of value. SPP is a highly topical issue for a steadily growing number of organisations in the Netherlands: action plans are being written, requirements and criteria are being formulated, and tools are being produced. Together, these activities are creating growing demand for instruments that evidence the impact of SPP.
Many actors see the EU’s circular economy (CE) as a promising narrative which steps outside dominant end-of-pipe solutions towards an encompassing vision for strategies across the supply chain. However, this study finds that the EU CE Action Plan maintains the status quo narrative instead of suggesting radical changes.
By focusing on stakeholder narratives, this analysis shows that the inertia is primarily due to CE proponents’ self-perception of being in a legitimacy crisis and their strategic arguments that have:
- concealed social conflict and potential trade-offs
- strengthened the agency of ‘status quo’ agents
- excluded alternative voices questioning the proposed CE narrative.
The paper discusses how to develop new environmental narratives outside the status quo.
Longstanding research on wood cascading has identified a variety of factors to enable more efficient, circular use of forest-based products in Europe.
This paper finds that two of the most critical barriers to wood cascading are:
- Competition between energy and material uses of waste wood in policy, market and infrastructure
- Inadequate information on and low quality of waste wood, including pollutant content.
It makes the following recommendations for policies and business:
- Redesign production processes to deal with contamination and increase quality
- Coordinate energy and waste policies
- Advance reporting standards about material composition of bioproducts
- Explore the best forms of involvement, awareness raising, communication and policies.
France's Law Against Food Waste has become an international model for sustainable food policy. The law is often described as combining economic efficiency with environmental protection and social equity. However, stakeholder narratives cast doubt on whether this French CE law really contributes to social justice in the long run. This discourse analysis shows that:
- the ban on food waste institutionalised a narrative about food waste that prioritises profit over social equity
- the traditionally dominant solidarity narrative about food waste has been pushed back by the emerging CE discourse
- As a consequence of this shift, activities enacted in the name of the CE may counteract social equity goals (for instance by establishing competition with charities).
Urban agriculture comes with its own share of environmental impacts. Circular strategies promise to reduce these impacts, but not all strategies are resource efficient and environmentally effective.
This paper finds that the most eco-friendly and circular strategies for urban agriculture, taking a Mediterranean tomato crop as a case study, include:
- Struvite (phosphate mineral recovered from wastewater treatment) instead of non-renewable phosphate fertiliser to conserve freshwater
- Recycled steel and materials for urban agricultural infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions, toxicity and freshwater pollution
- Closed-loop irrigation to minimise ocean and freshwater pollution. However, if new infrastructure is required, it could lead to an increase in carbon emissions.
Policies are focusing on halving food waste to help conserve increasingly strained food resources. However, expanding their scope of action to include dietary changes and complement targets with resource footprints has greater potential to save resources while avoiding trade-offs.
This paper shows that in Germany:
- Healthy, plant-based diets are more effective at reducing land and biomass use than halving food waste
- A combination of more plant-based food consumption and food waste reduction in distribution and consumption is most effective at saving resources
- Focusing exclusively on food waste reduction as a policy target can be detrimental to the overarching goal of saving resources because it deflects attention away from more effective alternatives.
Environmental assessments should focus on the needs of circular cities to support the transition to a sustainable circular economy
The circular economy (CE) is gaining momentum in cities. To ensure a sustainable CE, it is crucial to measure the environmental performance of CE strategies. However, environmental assessments overlook several strategies that are a key feature of urban CE practice. These include reuse and repair, sustainable built infrastructure and urban land use, green public procurement, smart information and access technology.
To provide insights into the environmental performance and potential of these strategies, industrial ecologists and municipalities should:
- collaborate with urban systems experts
- quantify the environmental impacts of entire urban systems
- combine environmental assessments with social and economic feasibility ones.
In Limbo is a platform (digital website and physical warehouse) facilitating the reuse of materials within the social and cultural sectors and schools in Brussels.
It encourages exchange and mutual aid within these sectors, as well as boosting recycling, reducing landfill costs and enabling organisations with limited resources to obtain reusable materials. Following the principles of circularity and sharing, all partners are invited to give and receive materials for free.
In Limbo is open only to registered partners which must be formal or informal non-profit associations or collectives, specifically social, cultural and artistic organisations, schools and temporary projects in Brussels. However, In Limbo accepts donations from all types of organisations.
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The BDI Initiative Circular Economy (CE) was created in April 2021 by the Federation of German Industries.
It is a network of more than 50 members that defines the potential of CE and the necessary framework conditions through practical exchange. To this end, they are in close dialogue with policymakers in Berlin and Brussels and with the sciences community.
CER Sustainable Business Network Slovenia is the largest sustainable business network in Slovenia on a mission to strengthen ambitions and activities to achieve a climate-neutral economy faster.
They bring business leaders together to share learnings and best practices, advocacy necessary for the change, influence policy, and accelerate the green transition using collective action. They raise awareness, grow ambition, build capacities, promote green tech, and foster partnerships to boost the transition towards climate-neutral Slovenia.
Furthermore, they work towards better understanding the necessity to act now on climate change. They bridge the gap between different stakeholders, offering them a safe space for open discussion about systemic barriers to reach climate neutrality.
Through its eight modules, the CICLO platform aims to upgrade, free of cost, the opportunities for up-skilling and re-skilling of long-term unemployed and low-skilled workers, in the field of the evolving circular economy market:
- Circular Economy: What’s in a name?
- Recycling Management
- Materials Reuse and Remanufacturing
- From Products to Services (Servitisation)
- Soft Skills for the Circular Economy I and 21st Century Skills
- Soft Skills for the Circular Economy II
- Good Practices
- How to Approach a Transition Towards a Greener System.
The material could be included in educational services offered by Vocational Education and Training (VET) providers, Training Centres, Higher Education Institutions, NGOs, SMEs, public services relevant to EU labour force, etc.