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Giving value to waste as a precious renewable resource: for the first time, agri-food waste can be exploited to create photovoltaic cells that produce sustainable electricity. From the residues derived from winemaking (normally disposed of without any other use), researchers can extract natural dyes that capture solar energy, transforming them into a regenerated green resource.
PET is currently the only plastic that can be 100 % recycled. Food grade PET is the key to plastic waste recycling. No other plastics are permitted for reuse in the production of new food packaging.
PU foam pressurised containers are used to fill gaps and to insulate and install window and door frames so as to make buildings airtight. OCF (one-component foam) producers have invested in a recycling company which recycles the metals in the packaging material, the reactive residual polyurethane prepolymer and the propellant.
The University of Malta has developed a patented process that recycles limestone and concrete construction and demolition waste into masonry products. These have superior mechanical properties compared to natural limestone products.
Ragn-Sells collects, treats and recycles waste and residual products from businesses, organisations and households.
Close the Glass Loop wants to achieve an average of 90% collection rate of used glass packaging at EU level by 2030 and a better quality of recycled glass.
The Circular Navarre Catalogue is a booklet showcasing 20 organisations - based on circular business models - in the Navarre region, who are looking for international cooperation.
The project idea called Urban Click is focused on finding a solution to promote recycling and reuse of construction and demolition waste (CDW) within the construction sector in urban areas of Europe.
Finnish jewelry company EKORU makes jewelry out of discarded Finnish coins, old silver spoons and other cutlery. After Finland changed to the Euro, the metal of old Finnish coins found other purposes.
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 into current barriers and governance practices in circular city transitions across Europe
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.
'The circular economy and the bioeconomy — Partners in sustainability' is the third EEA report on the circular economy. It aims to support the framing, implementation and evaluation of European circular economy policy from an environmental perspective. It shows that the two policy agendas have similar objectives and areas of intervention, including food waste, biomass and bio-based products, and that they would benefit from stronger links, particularly in product and infrastructure design, and collaboration throughout the value chain.
The increasing demand for food, feed, biomaterials and bioenergy resources could worsen the over-exploitation of natural resources. By extending the lifetime of products and recycling materials, a circular, bio-economy approach can help retain material value and functionality for longer time as well as avoid unrecycled biowaste.
Promising innovations and strategies for circular biomass use include biorefinery, 3D printing with bioplastics, multi-purpose crops, better use of residues and food waste, and biowaste treatment. Consumers can also contribute by eating less animal-based protein, preventing food waste and separating biowaste from other waste streams.
Implementing the circular and bio-economy in tandem, by applying specific design principles within a systemic approach, would improve resource efficiency and reduce environmental pressures.
This EEB and Eunomia report estimates the material consumption and CO2 emissions of the furniture sector at EU level and suggests some circular scenarios and policy options to grasp improvement opportunities.
Barriers to a circular furniture sector range from low quality materials, limited logistical infrastructure, poor demand for recycled materials to a wider range identified through the course of this research, informed through stakeholder consultation and literature review.
A move towards circular economy models within the European furniture sector would benefit from a variety of complimentary policy instruments to deal with market failures on the supply side and the demand side (creating demand for these products).
The climate conference in Paris has produced a landmark agreement. The emission reduction commitments made by 195 countries are a leap forward, but not yet sufficient to stay on a 2 °C trajectory, let alone a 1.5 °C pathway. Current commitments address only half the gap between business as usual and the 1.5 °C pathway. There is still a reduction of about 15 billion tonnes CO2e needed to reach the 1.5 °C target. Further solutions are therefore needed; solutions that go beyond decarbonising our energy system. This white paper by Ecofys and Circle Economy looks into the contribution a global circular economy could presumably make to bridging the emissions gap.
Since over half of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are associated with producing basic materials, there is a clear role for circular economy strategies in reducing this gap. To do this, the circular economy describes a practical and scalable landscape of opportunities by moving towards business models for an economy that is by design regenerative and as waste free as possible. Strategies at the heart of the circular economy include measures to reduce the input of virgin materials, improve the use of existing assets and reduce the output of waste. Circular economy strategies related to materials are: recovery and reuse, lifetime extension, sharing and service models, circular design and digital platforms.
On 21st April 2020 Tondo is launching a webinar in English to examine topics related to the Circular Economy and its fields of application.
The concept of the circular economy has been largely promoted as a solution to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation. Many scholars, on the other hand, argue that democratic and equitable sustainability cannot be achieved under conditions of continuous economic growth. This online symposium will discuss how a circular economy and society can rise to the challenge.
Join this one-hour webinar on Brazilian circular capacity building. International speakers will share their views on rethinking our business models and making them more sustainable in the wake of COVID-19 crisis. Tune in on Wednesday, 15 April, 2020, from 14:30 to 15:30 (CET).
In the second webinar of Signifikant's circular economy series, the discussion will be focussed on how manufacturing organizations are finding ways to fast-forward transformation beyond old linear ways of doing businesses.
Join this webinar to learn about the relevance of Circular Economy for cities, the role and approaches of EU regulation, as well as specific opportunities/challenges that municipalities may face when “going circular”.
It replaces the postponed NetWorkshop on Circular Cities>Towns>Villages and Municipal Utilities due to take place on 1-2 April.
On 17 and 18 March 2020 the Circular Materials Conference invites you to reimagine materials with the help of emerging technologies and novel collaborations to create a circular future together.
The national conference on the Circular Economy is scheduled for March 19 in Rome and will be livestreamed. Developed in collaboration with ENEA, it will show the 2020 Report on the circular economy in Italy with a focus on the regenerative bioeconomy.
The live streaming of the Conference is available here.
Fifty million metric tonnes of e-waste is generated every year, equalling the weight of nearly 4,500 Eiffel towers. Much of it is incinerated or placed in landfill, causing pollution, human health hazards and the loss of valuable finite resources.
Listen to experts do a deep-dive into the problems associated with e-waste and discuss how they can be tackled.
CEPS, in cooperation with COWI, Prognos and CapGemini, is launching a new study for the European Commission’s DG Energy on the EU’s Global Leadership in Renewables.
This webinar will outline a framework to classify indicators according to the measurement characteristics of the circular economy, but also provide an alternative pathway to monitor the circular economy.
'Plastic King' Robert Bezeau has built the world's first plastic bottle castle.
Plastic-eating protein grown could revolutionise recycling and prevent thousands of tonnes of waste clogging up landfill sites and the world’s oceans.
AIMPLAS takes part in the project ECOXY, coordinated by CIDETEC, to develop reinforced composites meeting the strict requirements of the construction and the automotive sectors.
Toxic substances linked to a range of adverse health impacts can be present in carpets sold in the European Union.
The project Bio+, led by the bag manufacturer PICDA and coordinated by AIMPLAS, will allow to develop customized compostable materials for plastic packages, bags and tableware.
Vassiliko Cement Works received an important recognition for its innovative project aimed at optimizing the production process with the use of alternative fuels and innovative applications.
Austria's new government programme makes a clear commitment to the circular economy. The launch of Austria's Circular Futures Platform is an expression of this commitment.
New Plastic Planet campaign animations have been developed, which are now available for use and download for free from WRAP' Resource Library.
The European Commission is calling for applications with a view to selecting members of the Technical Expert group on Sustainable Finance.
The European Commission is aiming to reveal its plan to curb single-use plastics in May.