Infrastructure has a major influence on whether resources can be preserved to use again or whether they are lost forever. For the most part, it has been designed for, and has perpetuated, the linear economy, the system of ‘take, make, use, throw’.
Working with academics from Resource Recovery from Waste at the University of Leeds, this report outlines three scenarios for England’s future with varying degrees of circularity. Green Alliance has analysed what infrastructure would be required under each of these scenarios for three common, high impact material streams from household waste: plastic, textiles and electrical equipment.
The European Commission and the European Investment Bank announce the selection of an Investment Advisor for the upcoming European Circular Bioeconomy Fund: the EU will make up to € 250 million available for innovative circular bio-economy companies and projects.
In 2012, the United Nations Environment Programme launched the Global Initiative for Resource-Efficient Cities (GI-REC) with the goal of applying integrated approaches and analyses such as urban metabolism in city planning and management (building on the work of the International Resource Panel).
After seven years, the first phase of the Initiative has brought together professionals from different disciplines, scientists, and policy makers. It has also brought together separate work streams of climate and resource efficiency, and how they are connected at the city level.
“Growing in Circles” summarises the GI-REC experience, and provides guidance on the transition of cities from a linear to a circular economy, and on alternatives to the way our cities are being planned and built.
The previous Commission policy on resources management was part of the priority for jobs and growth and economic competitiveness. The circular economy will be no less important for the new political priority of climate neutrality; it will become one of the indispensable elements for meeting the EU’s ambitions.
EU climate policy and the circular economy are, by and large, complementary and mutually reinforcing. The circular economy is more than just another ‘product standards’ policy.
Circular economy products for the foreseeable future will require both technology push and market pull policies. The principal challenge will be to create ‘lead markets’ for the circular economy in combination with low-carbon products.
Textiles are fundamental to our society and employs millions of people worldwide, making it among the largest in the world and an important part of Europe's manufacturing industry. However, textile production and consumption cause significant environmental, climate and social impacts by using resources, water, land and chemicals and emitting greenhouse gases and pollutants.
In Europe, the sector employs 1.7 million people and Europeans consume on average 26 kg of textiles per person per year. This briefing by the European Environment Agency provides an EU perspective of the environmental and climate pressures from textile production and consumption, and discusses how circular business models and regulation can help move us towards a circular textiles economy.
This report by the EEA highlights that fostering circular material use requires a broad system perspective and extensive stakeholder involvement. The entire product lifecycle — including the design, production, consumption and waste phases — needs to be addressed in a coherent way. The enablers of and barriers to circular business models need to be well understood and addressed before innovation and competitiveness can be enhanced.
This policy paper by the Institute for European Environmental Policy examines the interface between the EU circular economy, trade and sustainable development. It identifies the expected global impacts associated with the EU’s shift to circularity and investigates the role of trade in either incentivising or hindering this process.
Finally, the paper highlights the links between the circular economy, trade and sustainable development, emphasising the need for better policy coherence among these areas in the EU.
The European Commission has launched a call for proposals under the Horizon 2020 programme, aimed at supporting a pilot group of European cities to produce bio-based products from urban biowaste and wastewater.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the UN Environment Programme have published the first annual New Plastics Economy Global Commitment progress report. Presented at the Our Ocean Conference in Oslo, the report provides an unprecedented level of transparency on how almost 200 businesses and governments are reshaping the plastics system.