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.
What are your plans for May? ACR+ will kick off an entire month dedicated to innovation and circular economy in waste management. Through several events, ACR+ will showcase some of its activities and projects fostering innovative approaches and practices to reach a circular economy.
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).
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.
Many political, business and civil society stakeholders are disappointed with the German Packaging Act. They feel it makes a comparatively small contribution to the circular economy. This study explains why they are disappointed:
Policy-making became entangled in disputes between proponents of a private and a public system for waste collection. Stakeholder fears of potential radical changes led to a stalemate
Fears allowed only incremental changes in the Packaging Act
The incremental changes could not resolve existing conflicts.
Based on its findings, the paper proposes possible courses of action. To create a shift to a circular economy, dialogue is needed using methods which explicitly address fears and overcome the current stalemate.
The FOODRUS project has launched a survey on the identification of legal, economic, technical and system barriers to food loss and food waste prevention. The survey targets all actors in the food value chain, from farm to fork. Civil society organisations and policy makers engaged in food loss and food waste prevention measures are also welcome to participate.
134 people died in the devastating flooding in the German region of Ahrweiler in July 2021, caused by a climate change-induced weather situation. Over 400 000 tonnes of waste were created by the floods in one night. 40 000 households were hit, and massive damage to infrastructure such as roads, schools and hospitals was reported. The situation was described as being similar to the massive destruction following a war.
Thinking Circular’s report summarises the process of waste management and learning from this regional crisis.