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ICLEI’s journey towards circular procurement

Renewable Matter
Author: 
Giorgio Kaldor
Publication Date: 
09/2022
Country: 
EU, Italy

Language for original content:

There can be no doubt that circular demand creates opportunities for circular supply. But how can closed loop criteria be integrated into public procurement, which represents nearly 14% of Europe's GDP? To figure it out, Renewable Matter interviewed Helena O'Rourke-Potocki and Simon Clement, respectively circular economy and procurement officer and senior coordinator on the circular economy at ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.

ICLEI is a global network working with more than 2 500 local and regional governments committed to driving local action towards a social and ecological transition. In future, whether purchasing services or products such as buildings, furniture and food, local authorities will need to look for increasingly sustainable supplies.

Growth without economic growth

Author: 
Zora Kovacic (European Centre for Governance in Complexity), Roger Strand (European Centre for Governance in Complexity), Silvio Funtowicz (European Centre for Governance in Complexity), Lorenzo Benini (EEA), Ana Jesus (EEA)
Publication Date: 
01/2021
Country: 
EU

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By building on the insights from previous EEA reports on drivers of sustainability transitions, this briefing explores alternative ideas about growth and progress with the aim of broadening the sustainability debate.

Economic growth is closely linked to increases in production, consumption and resource use and has detrimental effects on the natural environment and human health. It is unlikely that a long-lasting, absolute decoupling of economic growth from environmental pressures can be achieved at the global scale. Societies need to rethink what is meant by growth and progress and their meaning for global sustainability.

The briefing outlines how circular economy may not deliver the transformation to sustainability when growth strategy still leads to increased material consumption.

A Compendium of Small Scale Actions to Promote the Circular Transition in Cities

A Compendium of Small Scale Actions to Promote the Circular Transition in Cities

Resourceful Cities

Small Scale Actions (SSA) are a new element introduced for this round of URBACT action planning networks (2019-2022). This compendium summarises all of the SSAs carried out within the Resourceful Cities Network. It aims to support and inspire other cities which want to accelerate their circular transition.

A wide range of SSAs were carried out by Resourceful Cities partners, each one responding to an identified need within the individual city context. Actions included promoting citizen engagement and participation, enhancing knowledge and raising awareness of the circular economy, business support, data collection and monitoring and trialling new business models.

The circular economy as EU environmental policy – Changing or maintaining the status quo?

The circular economy as EU environmental policy – Changing or maintaining the status quo?

The circular economy as EU environmental policy – Changing or maintaining the status quo?

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.

Barriers and enablers of wood cascading – Lessons for a circular bioeconomy

Barriers and enablers of wood cascading – Lessons for a circular bioeconomy

Barriers and enablers of wood cascading – Lessons for a circular bioeconomy

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.

Three narratives about food waste and their social impact

France's Law Against Food Waste: do new narratives serve social justice?

Three narratives about food waste and their social impact
Author: 
Sina Leipold, Kaja Weldner, Marius Hohl
Publication Date: 
12/2021
Country: 
Germany

Language for original content:

Scope:

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).

Full research article

Effective circular strategies for eco-friendly urban agriculture

Effective circular strategies for eco-friendly urban agriculture

Effective circular strategies for eco-friendly urban agriculture

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.

Healthy diets save more resources than food waste reduction

Healthy diets save more resources than food waste reduction

Healthy diets save more resources than food waste reduction

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

Environmental assessments should focus on the needs of circular cities to support the transition to a sustainable circular economy

Environmental assessments should focus on the needs of circular cities

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.

Why the Packaging Act contributes little to the Circular Economy

Why the German Packaging Act contributes little to the Circular Economy

Why the German Packaging Act contributes little to the Circular Economy
Author: 
Machteld Simoens, Sina Leipold
Publication Date: 
06/2020
Country: 
Germany

Language for original content:

Scope:

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.

Circular public procurement: a framework for cities

Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Author: 
Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Publication Date: 
03/2022
Country: 
United Kingdom

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Scope:

This is a guide to help practitioners in a city government to adopt a more circular approach to public procurement. Public procurement processes differ from one city to another and therefore this guide is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, it provides an overarching framework that should be adapted to the local context and the realities of a city.

Users are not expected to read the guide in full from beginning to end, but rather, once they have read the framework overview, to jump to the section they need by using the menu bar on the left.

ChangeMakers

ChangeMakers
Author: 
Circularities, CIRCL – Circular Economy platform ABN AMRO
Publication Date: 
01/2022
Country: 
Netherlands

Language for original content:

ChangeMakers is a magazine published by Circularities together with Circl/ABN Amro Bank. Readers can learn about working methods and practical examples of circularity from directors, designers, buyers and marketing specialists from companies like Philips, Bugaboo, Fairphone and Mitsubishi.

The magazine aims to inspire future-proof professionals with a wealth of interviews from people who really know what they're talking about and feel passionate about the circular transition. Each section tackles the circular economy from a different perspective: for instance, directors speak about how they need to steer their companies and designers talk about the principles underpinning their work. 

If you're interested in circular issues, this magazine is well worth the read!

 

Greenwashing in the Fashion Industry

Greenwashing in the Fashion Industry
Author: 
Generation Climate Europe, Task Force on Textiles
Publication Date: 
10/2021
Country: 
Belgium

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Key Area:

Scope:

This policy paper sheds light on the false claims and misleading communication campaigns advertised by the fashion industry. It discusses the environmental impacts associated with these Greenwashing claims in relation to three issues: materials, circularity and climate.

The paper further presents the most common statements and strategies used by fashion companies to convey their alleged engagement in environmentally sustainable practices.

Finally, recommendations are given on the policies needed on the EU-level to ensure that fashion brands are providing accurate and verifiable information to consumers, for them to make informed choices.

With this policy paper, Generation Climate Europe (GCE) calls on the EU to address the growing issue of Greenwashing in the fashion industry.

The Beverage Carton Roadmap to 2030 and beyond

ACE logo
Author: 
ACE
Publication Date: 
03/2021
Country: 
Belgium

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Scope:

The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) and its members have set out the industry’s vision for the future: they intend to deliver renewable, climate positive and circular packaging for resilient food supply systems.

Through its robust and ambitious Roadmap, the industry commits to take action throughout the industry value chain, from sustainable sourcing to climate impact and recycling. Its ten commitments include increasing the collection and recycling of beverage cartons to reach a 90% collection rate and at least a 70% recycling rate by 2030, and decarbonising the industry’s value chain in line with the 1.5o C aligned science-based targets.

TOMRA: Resource recovery playbook

Resource Recovery Playbook
Author: 
TOMRA
Publication Date: 
01/2021
Country: 
Germany, Other (Norway)

Language for original content:

As an impact leader and frontrunner promoting resource circularity, TOMRA has extensively explored, analysed and collaborated with value chain partners to address the ever-increasing global problem of waste. This white paper presents the challenges, projections and opportunities involved in managing post-consumer waste in developed and developing countries. It describes how society can speed up the transition to a circular economy by collecting and recycling waste, especially plastic packaging and other carbon-intensive materials.

The white paper can be downloaded from TOMRA's website, but this requires registering in a third party's data base and submitting your email address

Aspects of the circular economy: waste management and smart cities

REVOLVE logo
Author: 
Marta Castillo Sánchez, Michael Karner
Publication Date: 
04/2021
Country: 
Austria, Belgium, Spain

Language for original content:

REVOLVE magazine has published several articles on waste management and smart cities:

Future is waste. When it comes to climate change and environmental degradation, waste is both the problem and the solution.

This article focuses on the Interreg MED Green Growth Community's work on developing green and smart public services in Euro-Mediterranean cities.

Here’s a look at Euro-Mediterranean projects that have been making progress on the ground.   

Pathways to circular procurement

Interreg ProCirc logo
Author: 
Interreg NSR ProCirc
Publication Date: 
02/2021
Country: 
Netherlands

Language for original content:

Key Area:

One of the ways we can accelerate the transition to a circular economy is to change our procurement practices. Programmes like ProCirc are running pilot projects to test the waters.

In an article titled Pathways to circular procurement, Joan Prummel and Cuno van Geet, two experts on the subject working at Rijkswaterstaat, part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, explain the benefits of circular procurement and how to get started.

Digital technologies will deliver more efficient waste management in Europe

EEA logo
Author: 
EEA
Publication Date: 
01/2021
Country: 
EU

Language for original content:

Scope:

Almut Reichel Contact details

This EEA Briefing highlights how digitalisation is transforming the 21st century and affecting every area of daily life, including the environmental technology sector. Digital technologies will make waste management more effective. They will enable Europe’s economy to recover more of the valuable materials present in waste streams, reducing the amount of raw materials mined or imported and avoiding the associated environmental and climate impacts.

The briefing also concludes that the digital transformation of the waste management sector should be aligned with plans to make greater use of digital technologies in the development of a circular economy.

The EU Ecolabel for hard covering products

EU Ecolabel
Author: 
European Commission
Publication Date: 
03/2021
Country: 
EU

Language for original content:

Key Area:

Scope:

The EU Ecolabel is the official European Union label for environmental excellence.

It is awarded to sustainably-designed products, thereby encouraging innovation, and contributing to the EU’s goal of climate neutrality by 2050 and to the circular economy.

Industry can use the EU Ecolabel to offer consumers an eco-friendly alternative to conventional products and help them lower their daily environmental impact.

Ambitious criteria have been set, focusing on the main environmental impacts generated over the lifecycle of these products. This ensures that EU Ecolabel hard covering products are among the best on the market in terms of environmental performance.

Access the full list of EU Ecolabel criteria for hard coverings products here.

 

Open Access Knowledge Hub: a wealth of circular economy case studies

Knowledge Hub
Author: 
Circle Economy, Tair Bilyalov, Yasmina Lembachar, Marijana Novak, Shyaam Ramkumar
Publication Date: 
01/2018
Country: 
Netherlands

Language for original content:

Knowledge Hub is an open access collaborative library of circular economy case studies from Europe and around the world. It contains over 2000 case studies.

Knowledge Hub is based on the following three principles:

  • Everyone contributes: the knowledge base grows quicker if everybody adds case studies.
  • Everyone edits: It's not meddling, it's co-authoring! Version history ensures nothing is lost.
  • Everyone curates: See any irrelevant, duplicate or promotional content? Report it to the Knowledge Hub admins!

White paper - Durable and repairable products: 20 steps to a sustainable Europe

Durable and repairable products
Author: 
Adèle Chasson, Public Affairs Manager of HOP , Laetitia Vasseur, Co-Founder and Director of HOP , Alice Papillon, HOP, Ariane Jamin, HOP
Publication Date: 
11/2020
Country: 
EU

Language for original content:

European consumers lack the means to improve the durability of their products. In addition to harming the environment by emitting CO2, extracting non-renewable resources unnecessarily and creating waste, premature obsolescence in all its forms affects citizens’ purchasing power, their right to repair and their freedom to make their products last longer.

This white paper aims to give all stakeholders suggestions and ideas to move towards a world in which repair and responsible consumption are the norm. This will necessarily imply new constraints on manufacturers, that can no longer make products without taking durability and repair into account. It will also require new tools to inform citizens so that they are empowered in their consumption choices.

Guidelines on Pre- and Co-processing of Waste in Cement Production – Use of waste as alternative fuel and raw material

Author: 
S. Blume, M. Hinkel, D. Mutz, D. Hengevoss
Publication Date: 
01/2020
Country: 
Germany

Language for original content:

Different types of waste have been successfully co-processed as alternative fuels and raw materials (AFR) in cement kilns in Europe, Japan, USA, Canada and Australia since the beginning of the 1980s.

In 2006, the first edition of the GTZ-Holcim Guidelines on Co-processing Waste Materials in Cement Production was published (GIZ-Holcim, 2006), aiming to gather the lessons of these experiences and offer it particularly to low and middle income countries as an option to improve approaches to waste management. Since then, waste management has earned a much more prominent place on the political agenda.

This revised edition of the guidelines updates technical, institutional, legal and social aspects of the original document as well as incorporate new ideas and information.

EPR Toolbox | Know-how to enable Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging

EPR Toolbox - Know-how to enable Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging

PREVENT Waste Alliance
Author: 
Agnes Bünemann, Jana Brinkmann, Dr. Stephan Löhle, Sabine Bartnik
Publication Date: 
10/2020
Country: 
Germany

Language for original content:

PREVENT Waste Alliance Contact details

Pollution caused by incorrect packaging of waste is a serious problem. It can be addressed by designing products that are easier to recycle and by investing in collection and recycling systems. Establishing these kinds of systems requires a strong coordination body, backed up by transparent and stable sources of funding.

Experience suggests that the principle of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) can have significant potential to achieve a range of policy objectives. The EPR Toolbox contains detailed information about EPR and provides an introduction to a number of distinct issues.

Making a business case for African battery recycling

African battery recycling
Author: 
Reinhardt Smit
Publication Date: 
09/2020
Country: 
Netherlands

Language for original content:

Contact: 
Reinhardt Smit Contact details

Closing the Loop (CTL) and Fairphone have partnered with other circular innovators, such as the Dutch government, in a project that is likely to become a game-changer for the electronics industry - proving that scrap batteries from Africa can be used to produce clean materials for the future.

In the first-ever shipment of scrap Li-ion batteries from West Africa to Europe, CTL has taken the first step towards proving that these scrap batteries can be a sustainable source for resources.

The results of this pilot have been recorded in a white paper, available here.

Wskaźniki monitorowaniagospodarki o obiegu zamkniętymgospodarki o obiegu zamkniętymgospodarki o obiegu zamkniętym

Indicators for monitoring circular economy in Poland

Author: 
Joanna Kulczycka (editor)
Publication Date: 
10/2020
Country: 
Poland

Language for original content:

Contact: 
Mineral and Energy Economy Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences

This is the second book published by the Mineral and Energy Economy Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

It is a collection of contributions by different authors focusing on a proposal for indicators to monitor circular economy in Poland. A large part of the work consists in explaining that circular economy is more than just waste management.

The publication is in Polish, but abstracts of the different contributions are available in English at the end of the book (from page 203 onwards).

 

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