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Knowledge

In this section you will find knowledge such as studies, reports, presentations and position papers….. all submitted by stakeholders.

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Scaling the Circular Built Environment: pathways for business and government

scaling the circular built environment cover page

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Author: 
WBCSD, Circle Economy
Publication Date: 
12/2018
Country: 
Switzerland

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Contact: 
Brendon Edgerton
Harald Friedl

The built environment, consuming almost half of the world's resources extracted every year and responsible for a massive environmental footprint, is a fundamental sector in the circular transition.The circular economy has great potential to help meet global sustainability targets and the Paris Agreement's goals in particular.
Moving towards a circular built environment involves a shift in roles and business models for stakeholders active in this sector. However, barriers related to culture, regulations, market, technology and education are slowing down the transition.

The private and public sector need to create a level playing field in order for circular materials, products and services to become the new normal in the built environment. This requires bold leadership from both companies and policy-makers who have to transform the market (e.g. by introducing new valuation methods) and implement long-term policies that encourage the scaling of circular solutions (e.g. through circular procurement). Standardization, new forms of collaboration and co-creation processes are essential elements in the transition. Digital innovation, education and information sharing can further drive the change in mindset and culture that is needed to turn the circular built environment into reality.

Deposit-refund systems in Europe for one-way beverage packaging

Deposit-refund systems for one-way beverage packaging

ACR+ DRS report cover

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Author: 
Bilyana Spasova
Publication Date: 
03/2019
Country: 
Spain

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Contact: 
Philippe Micheaux-Naudet

Within the discussion on possible instruments that policy-makers can use to achieve waste collection targets and implement the 2015 Circular Economy Action Plan, deposit-refund systems (DRS) are often cited as a promising & useful policy tool. Such DRS ask consumers to pay an additional visible amount of money – a “deposit” – on top of the product price and then refund this money back if the consumer brings back the product (or its empty packaging) to an approved collection point.

In this report, ACR+ explored DRS experiences across ten European countries: Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. Relying on available facts and data, the report presents an informative overview of existing examples and approaches in Europe for one-way beverage packaging. This analysis concludes that the launch timing in relation to other waste management systems and the positive participation of producers are both decisive in determining the success of the system.

To learn more about the hands-on implementation of DRS in Europe, read the full report here.

Economía Circular y Empleabilidad de los Jóvenes en la Comunidad de Madrid

Circular Economy and Youth Employability in the Comunidad de Madrid
Author: 
Eva Ramón, Franco Llobera, Manuel Redondo
Publication Date: 
04/2018
Country: 
Spain

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Contact: 
Eva Ramón

The Centro de Documentación Europea de la Universidad Francisco de Vitoria (European Documentation Centre, UFV) has completed a project titled Economía Circular y Empleabilidad de los Jóvenes en la Comunidad de Madrid (Circular Economy and Employability of Young People in the Autonomous Region of Madrid).

The outcomes include a report on communicating the circular economy through the lens of employment opportunities circular business models provide for young people. The project has also created a guide on communicating the circular economy to students, which introduces the subject, presents the 7R model and shows how innovative companies provide opportunities for employment in circular business.

2018_Wat_Sci_Tech_Incover_final publicado

Start-up of a microalgae-based treatment system within the biorefinery concept: from wastewater to bioproducts

Author: 
Enrica Uggetti, Joan García, Juan Antonio Álvarez and María Jesús García-Galán
Publication Date: 
12/2018
Country: 
United Kingdom

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Contact: 
Juan Antonio Alvarez Rodriguez

Within the European project INCOVER, an experimental plant uses low-energy photobioreactors to cultivate micro-algae and transform wastewater into bioproducts.

This article describes this new experimental plant and the start-up stage, starting from the new design of three semi-closed horizontal photobioreactors with low energy requirements, for microalgae cultivation (30 m3 total), using agricultural runoff and urban wastewater as feedstock.

The inflow nutrients concentration is adjusted to select cyanobacteria, microalgae able to accumulate polyhydroxybutyrates, which can be used for bioplastics production. Part of the harvested biomass is used as substrate for anaerobic co-digestion (AcoD) with secondary sludge to obtain biogas. This biogas is then cleaned in an absorption column to reach methane concentration up to 99%. The digestate from the AcoD is further processed in sludge wetlands for stabilization and biofertilizer production.

On the other hand, treated water undergoes ultrafiltration and disinfection through a solar-driven process, then it is pumped through absorption materials to recover nutrients, and eventually applied in an agricultural field to grow energy crops by means of a smart irrigation system. This plant presents a sustainable approach for wastewater management, which can be seen as a resource recovery process, more than a waste treatment.

Circular Economy - Future of the Development of Slovakia

Circular Economy - Future of the Development of Slovakia

CIRCULAR ECONOMY - FUTURE OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF SLOVAKIA

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Author: 
Slovak Environment Agency
Publication Date: 
02/2019
Country: 
Slovak Republic

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Contact: 
Tatiana Guštafíková

The publication presents a state-of-play for Slovakia's circular economy transition and introduces its circular economy policies. It also contains interviews with representatives of the Slovak State administration, NGO representatives and scientists, as well as examples of good practices from municipalities, businesses, and NGOs.

Good practices in separate collection, sorting and recycling of steel for packaging

Good practices in separate collection, sorting and recycling of steel for packaging

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Author: 
APEAL
Publication Date: 
06/2018
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Steve Claus

With an average of 79.5% recycled across Europe in 2016, steel for packaging is already the most recycled packaging material in Europe.

This report compiles examples of good practices from countries across the EU showcasing the varied projects, systems and processes by which steel for packaging is recycled, bringing significant reduction in emissions, resource and energy use.

Steel, a permanent material that can be infinitely recycled to make high quality products, can be easily sorted from the waste stream owing to its magnetic properties which make it the most economical packaging material to collect, sort and recycle over and over again.

Good practices in separate collection, sorting and recycling of steel for packaging contribute to improving its recycling rate, but can also serve as a guide for any stakeholder interested in improving these essential steps in a circular perspective.

Enablers and Barriers to a Circular Economy

Enablers and Barriers to a Circular Economy

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Author: 
R2Pi Project
Publication Date: 
09/2018
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Raymond Slaughter

The report provides a simple, yet rich overview of the barriers and enablers of circular economy business models as identifed by stakeholders, drawing upon a range of interviews, workshops and events, and a survey conducted with representatives of the European business sector.

Within businesses, stakeholders have identified high-level commitment accompanied by long-term perspectives, the personal drive and attitudes of staff, as well as the promise of enhanced competitiveness as key in supporting the transition towards circularity. Yet, from an internal company perspective, a number of factors were highlighted as getting in the way of the transition. Difficulties in financing new business models, taxation systems, resistance to change and the perceived lack of consumer demand are key examples of obstacles that hamper the circular transformation.

Importantly, stakeholders have provided interesting insights into possible solutions and recommendations able to overcome the challenges posed by circular economy barriers: tax incentives, the development of wealth-measurement systems other than GDP, material passports and quality standards, to name a few. Future solutions should also focus on ensuring safe areas for innovation out of tendering calls, green public procurement and increased financial support.

 

Two years later: the EU Circular Economy Package

IW Report
Author: 
Dr. Adriana Neligan
Publication Date: 
04/2018
Country: 
Germany

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Contact: 
Dr. Adriana Neligan

The EU Circular Economy Package pushes forward the concepts of ‘recycle, repair and re-use’, as well as waste avoidance. To comply with the Package many EU countries will need a completely new waste treatment system, and many companies will need to re-think some established business models.

Two years after adopting the Circular Economy Package, the EU institutions have finally agreed on a new EU waste regulation. The paper entitled Two years later: the EU Circular Economy Package evaluates recent EU policy moves and decisions. It also analyses the status quo of Germany's circular economy efforts and compares them to those of other EU member states. Finally, some of the risks and opportunities for companies are outlined.

This paper is an update of a previously published policy paper by Dr. Adriana Neligan (2016), which discussed the Package after it was presented in late 2016.

2025 recycling target: only 10 EU countries on track

Author: 
Dr. Adriana Neligan
Publication Date: 
04/2018
Country: 
Germany

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Contact: 
Dr. Adriana Neligan

Two years after adopting the Circular Economy Package, the EU institutions have finally agreed on new EU waste rules. Despite lower recycling targets as originally envisaged, most countries still have to push recycling to meet the goals. A single method of determining recycling rates was also decided, but an exemption will continue to allow for disparate recycling rates.

Recycling has become increasingly important in Europe: EU recycling rates increased from 32 to 46 per cent between 2005 and 2016. Yet, more progress is needed to reach the targets.

Retaining value in the Swedish materials system - summary of the report in English

Retaining value in the Swedish materials system

Retaining value in the swedish materials system

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Author: 
Material Economics
Publication Date: 
01/2018
Country: 
Sweden

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Contact: 
Per Klevnäs
Angelica Afzelius

The report Retaining value in the Swedish materials system takes a value perspective on the use and recycling of materials in a circular perspective. It analyses the use of materials in the Swedish economy in monetary terms instead of tonnes and cubic metres.

The key questions it seeks to answer include the following:

  • For each 100 SEK of raw material entering the Swedish economy, how much value is retained after one use cycle?
  • What are the main reasons that material value is lost?
  • What measures could retain more materials value, and how much could be recovered? Which business opportunities arise as a result?

This value perspective gives a much more realistic view of how circular the Swedish materials system really is, as it captures all the downgrading effects that occur through its use of materials, in addition to the volume effects that also traditional research approaches capture. The value perspective also turns materials recycling into an industrial innovation and an economic topic, in addition to an environmental topic. To our knowledge, this is the first time anyone has value-mapped a material system in this way. 

Read more about the results and download the full report (in Swedish) here.

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