The BlueCity business park is one of Rotterdam's unique landmarks: formerly a water park resort, the complex is now a circular incubator housing over 30 startups experimenting towards a sustainable future.
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The Roman public transport provider, Atac, has launched +Ricicli +Viaggi (the more you recycle, the more you travel), a pilot scheme in which riders can pay for travel with PET plastic bottles.
To create a circular economy for Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers, Starlinger, a plastic packaging machinery and process technology engineering company from Austria, has simulated a closed loop for polypropylene - the main component of big bags- in cooperation with renowned big bag manufacturers Louis Blockx and LC Packaging.
At the intersection of science, design, and waste management, PuriFungi develops natural cleaning systems. PuriFungi's new product is an ashtray made of mycelium and cigarette butts.
adidas, one of Europe's premier sportswear manufacturers, is increasing the use of sustainable materials in its product range. From 2024 onwards, only recycled polyester will be used in every product and on every application where a solution exists.
In 2019, Stella McCartney partnered up with adidas to solve the problem of product waste with the introduction of two new apparel innovations.
The SaltGae project has established real scale demonstration sites in Slovenia, Italy and Israel that show the long-term techno-economic performance of microalgae technology for the efficient treatment of saline wastewaters from the food and beverage industries.
The Finnish city of Lahti has been pioneering industrial symbiosis at the Kujala Waste Treatment Centre where all sorts of waste are reused. Several companies have established interconnected material flows, thus making one’s residues another one’s raw materials.
Estonian leather goods maker Stella Soomlais has come up with an innovative bag design that enables old or damaged leather bags to be turned into new leather goods, with little leftover material.
Estonian company Gelatex Technologies has designed a new textile made of gelatine - a substance derived from livestock industry waste. Compared to other materials, this innovative textile is the closest thing to leather. The product is easily scalable, quick to produce and environmentally-friendly.
By identifiying good practices in turning biomass to heat or power, the uP_running project is unlocking the strong potential of woody biomass residues produced by Agrarian Pruning and Plantation Removals.
The Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, the Netherlands and Deloitte have jointly carried out research on barriers to the Circular Economy (CE) in the European Union. For this research, a survey with 153 businesses, 55 government officials and expert interviews with forty-seven thought leaders on the circular economy from businesses, governments, academia and NGOs have been carried out. Two types of barriers emerged as main barriers.
Firstly, there are the cultural barriers of lacking consumer interest and awareness as well as a hesitant company culture. This finding is at odds with claims that the circular economy concept is hyped; rather, the concept may be a niche discussion among sustainable development professionals.
Secondly, market barriers emerged as a core category of barriers, particularly low virgin material prices and high upfront investments costs for circular business models.
Government intervention might be needed to overcome the market barriers which then may also help to overcome cultural barriers. Cultural barriers do also need to be overcome by circular start-ups. And, even though there is still no circular startup that has made global headlines, this may change soon.
Textiles waste is relatively small in terms of weight as compared to other waste streams, but it has a large impact on human health and environment, and its rate is increasing due to the ‘fast fashion’ model. In this paper, the authors examine the French national programme for managing post-consumer textiles and clothing through a case study research.
France is the only country in the world implementing an extended producer responsibility (EPR) policy for end-of-use clothing, linen and shoes. The case highlights the benefits of using an EPR policy and provides interesting insights about the challenges faced by the textiles waste sector. For instance, the EPR policy has contributed to a threefold increase in the collection and recycling rates of post-consumer textiles since 2006. In addition, the material recovery rate of the post-consumer textiles can reach 90%, 50% of which can be directly reused. However, the ‘reuse’ stream is facing some challenges because its main market is in Africa and many African countries are considering banning the import of used textiles to encourage a competitive textiles industry locally and internationally.
The EPR policy shows a great potential to identify new markets for ‘reuse’ and to improve the textiles waste sector. Such an EPR policy also could drive societies to financially support innovation and research to provide feasible solutions for fashion producers to adopt eco-design and design for recycling practices. This paper provides guidance for policy makers, shareholders, researchers and practitioners interested in diverting post-consumer textiles and clothing waste from landfills and promoting circular textiles transition.
The principle of Circular Economy is to keep raw materials within the economic cycle as long as possible while generating the lowest possible amount of waste and emission. To do so, end-of-life products and materials must be kept at the highest possible level of value creation according to their original use. Adapted logistical concepts to coordinate both material and information flows - in addition to innovative business models and new approaches to product design for recycling - are necessary to realise circularity in the economy.
The megatrend of digitalisation, especially through Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, offers solutions that have not yet been applied extensively. Possible disadvantages of rebound effects due to Circular Economy and increased demand for resources caused by the deployment of digital technologies must also be taken into consideration. Due to its strong integration into the processes of production, there is scope for digitised management of resource and waste logistics to make a substantial contribution to a sustainable economy.
The white paper discusses the various dimension of logistics that support the Circular Economy transition by reflecting upon the following trends: atomisation of shipments, information logistics and data sovereignty, new manufacturing technologies, autonomous systems in Industry 4.0 and Social Networked Industry. Uses cases are developed for each of these trends, whose respective impacts on respectively producers, consumers, recycling businesses and the environment are also analysed.
Further scenario analysis for both a gradual and radical transition to Circular Economy shows the differing impact these trends might have in varying intensity on manufacturing, logistics and recycling. The white paper concludes that logistics is crucial in all levels of the transition to a circular economy, as it forms the core of transporting goods, transferring information in self-organising supply chain networks and developing new business models.
Over the last decade, the concept of the circular economy has regained attention, especially related to efforts to achieve a more sustainable society. The ‘revival’ of the circular economy has been accompanied by controversy and confusion across different actors in science and practice. With this article the authors attempt at contributing to advanced clarity in the field and providing a heuristic that is useful in practice. Initially, they take a focus on the historical development of the concept of circular economy and value retention options for products and materials aiming for increased circularity.
The authors propose to distinguish three phases in the evolution of the circular economy and argue that the concept – in its dominant framing – is not as new as frequently claimed. Having established this background knowledge, they give insights into ‘how far we are’ globally, with respect to the implementation of circularity, arguing that high levels of circularity have already been reached in different parts of the globe with regard to longer loop value retention options, such as energy recovery and recycling. Subsequently, the authors show that the confusion surrounding the circular economy is more far reaching. They summarize the divergent perspectives on retention options and unite the most common views using a 10R typology.
From their analyses, the authors conclude that policymakers and businesses should focus their efforts on realization of the more desirable, shorter loop retention options, like remanufacturing, refurbishing and repurposing – yet with a view on feasibility and overall system effects. Scholars, on the other hand, should assist the parties contributing to an increased circular economy in practice by taking up a more active role in attaining consensus in conceptualizing the circular economy.
Is the current circular economy paradigm enough? Will it get us to a fairer society and flourishing planet? Will it allow us to meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals? Perhaps not. There could be a different way: by combining social enterprise and circular economy (= social circular economy), to deliver benefits to people, planet and profit.
The Social Circular Economy report provides insights from our engagement with 30+ organisations from around the world that are using the value creating approaches of the circular economy to deliver environmental, societal and economic benefits. From a recycling hub supporting a disability rehabilitation centre to corporate uniform repurposing with women's collectives, there are organisations innovating business models and processes to do business better and help meet UN Sustainable Development Goals. This report covers:
- What is the social circular economy?
- What are the themes across social circular enterprises?
- What are examples of these organisations?
- How can you or your organisation participate?
How does a transition to a more circular economy affect jobs and skills demand in Europe?
This report looked at trends of circular economy activities across different sectors and quantified these activities as modelling inputs to provide employment changes for different sectors. The analysis also provides estimates of the occupational shifts and skills requirements that a shift to a more circular economy could entail.
The aim of this report is to develop an understanding of how a transition towards a more circular and resource efficient economy in Europe will affect labour markets across the Member States. Our analysis is the most comprehensive quantification of the EU jobs impacts from the circular economy to date. By using a fully integrated energy-environment-economy model (E3ME), our analysis considers both direct job losses and job creations that result from a shift to a more circular economy. It also captures indirect, induced and rebound impacts from interactions between sectors, Member States, and between economic, environment, material, energy and labour market indicators.
Our findings suggest that the EU is on the right track by making the circular economy a policy priority as circular economy policies will contribute to reducing negative environmental impacts, while simultaneously contributing to higher employment levels. By moving towards a more circular economy, GDP in the EU increases by almost 0.5% by 2030 compared to the baseline case. The net increase in jobs is approximately 700,000 compared to the baseline through additional labour demand from recycling plants, repair services and rebounds in consumer demand from savings generated through collaborative actions Although the magnitude of job creation is driven by our assumption of the rate of circular economy uptake in the scenarios, our analysis confirms that it is possible to become more resource efficient and increase employment at the same time.
The study analysed the economic effects of the transposition of Directive 1999/44/EC concerning warranty rights, which had to be transposed into national law by January 2002. A number of publications had suggested that strengthening warranty rights for consumer goods as foreseen in the directive could increase the price level of these goods, possibly resulting in a reduced purchases. The study addressed both questions by analysing data from several EU countries. The first question was addressed by analysing inflation rates of general prices and of prices for the consumer goods affected by the directive in the time period 1998 until 2002. The second question was analysed by looking at the share of consumers who used online consumer-to-consumer markets, which were not covered by the warranty rights foreseen in the directive.
The comparison of inflation rates for consumer goods showed that inflation rates for consumer goods were below the general inflation rate between 1998 and 2004. Therefore, between 1998 and 2004 prices for the different groups of consumer goods covered by the directive did not increase but actually appear to have decreased slightly. This effect has been found for all countries analysed with no significant differences between countries transposing the minimum standards and those that went beyond. The second part of the analysis addressed the question if a developed market for online consumer-to-consumer selling of goods exists, for which the new seller's warranties weren't valid. In case of price increases for business-to-consumer markets – which have not been found in the first part of the analysis – part of the transactions could be transferred to these markets. The analysis showed that the vast majority of consumers in Western European countries used the internet regularly to purchase goods, including the online-platform Ebay. In case of increasing prices for consumer goods because of strengthened warranty rights, part of the transactions would move to online consumer-to-consumer markets rather than resulting in an overall decline of consumer goods purchases. The general conclusion was that over the analysed time period no negative impact of strengthened warranty rights on the price level of consumer goods could be found.
Ce document est une synthèse des échanges qui ont eu lieu lors du séminaire « Financement de l’économie circulaire » organisé par le SPF Economie le 6 juin 2017 et réunissant les différents intervenants du secteur public et bancaire ainsi que des entrepreneurs de l’économie circulaire.
Il présente brièvement le concept de l’économie circulaire avant de développer les solutions de financement public et privé. Il souligne également les difficultés de financement auxquelles les entreprises et les banques sont confrontées.
Enfin, en comparant les initiatives belges en matière d’économie circulaire avec celles des pays voisins, ce document montre le rôle que la Belgique joue en Europe dans l’émergence de ce nouveau système économique. Différents points d’attention sont repris sous une rubrique « recommandations » à la fin du document.
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"Cerrar el círculo: el business case de la economía circular" (Closing the loop: the business case for a circular economy) is a report authored in 2018 by Foretica, which shows the latest trends in circular economy, a practical roadmap to guide companies towards a circular mindset as well as best practices from 9 companies that are leading the transition towards a circular economy in Spain.
Forética is a multi-stakeholder non-profit organisation working to promoting ethical and socially responsible policies at the core of institutional and corporate values. In 2017, Foretica launched the Circular Economy Action Group with 9 leading companies: Ecoembes, Endesa, Naturgy, IKEA Ibérica, ING, LafargeHolcim, Nestlé, OHL and Unilever.
What would the European territory look like in 2030, if Europe had completed a transition to a place based circular economy?
The fourth volume of the ' Possible European Territorial Futures' Final report, Volume D, focuses on the impact that a place based circular economy will have on territorial development in EU and provides background information and nuanced considerations concerning the territorial foresight for a place based circular economy. It is part of a larger ESPON study on territorial foresight, aiming to better understand the implications of either development trends or ideas for a wanted or unwanted future. Europe’s territorial structure under a place based circular economy will differ from the one we know today. This economy will imply dramatic changes for all parts of Europe and will also affect urbanisation and territorial balance. At a European level, the differences between strong socio-economic areas and the lagging regions may reduce under a place based circular economy. The study illustrates the potential for small and medium-sized towns, as well as the challenges for sparsely populated areas and inner-peripheries. It also highlights the importance of networks in driving innovations in a circular economy and leading areas in the sharing economy. Furthermore, the study shows areas which could expect particular transition challenges in consumer behaviour (including tourists) and changing manufacturing structures.
The 2nd International Conference on Circularity in the Built Environment (CiBEn) will take place in Delft, the Netherlands from 22 to 24 September 2020.
BarcelonaTech welcomes the 19th European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production (ERSCP) Society from 15 to 18 October
ISWA will hold its 29th World Congress will be held in Bilbao, Spain from 7 to 9 October 2019
Find out about Europe’s top social innovations challenging plastic waste at the European Social Innovation Competition awards ceremony on 24 October 2019 in Brussels.
The 2019 International Circular Week is set to take place simultaneously in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland from 8 to 13 October 2019, with events ranging from Horizon 2020 brokerage to street art performances
Mektory at Tallinn University of Technology will host a Circular Economy Hackathon from 18 to 20 October at the biggest Innovation Center in Estonia. At the end of the hackathon, an international jury will select 10 ideas to participate in the growth and scaling workshops.
The role of national governments in closing the circularity gap while fulfilling citizen's needs is crucial - join the conversation during the Circularity Gap Webinar for policymakers on 15 October.
EURACTIV will host a high-level Stakeholder Workshop on 4 December 2019 to discuss the EU’s circular economy policy, its current challenges and its future steps.
Join the Cradle to Cradle Bouwgroep on 4 October 2019 in Rotterdam for a seminar and debate on Material Passports and circulair building projects.
The 15th edition of the biannual French waste management conference will take place in Nantes on 2-3 October 2019.
How do we assess projects' circularity? We need your opinion! Questionnaire on the assessment criteria launched by SCREEN Policy Lab.
Less than a tenth of the billions of tonnes of resources pumped into the global economy every year are reused, and this waste incurs a huge economic, environmental, and social cost.
Time to radically rethink fashion.
The future of our environment may seem bleak, but a growing movement believe a circular economy is the future.
The 2nd annual conference of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform will take place on 20 and 21 February 2018.
Study on the benefits case for remanufacturing.
Reducing marine litter: action on single use plastics and fishing gear
Circular economy for modern growth: EU and the Baltics
CNBC: There’s a new type of economy in town
The first-ever Europe-wide strategy on plastics was adopted today as part of the transition towards a more circular economy.