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EEA Briefing: Reducing loss of resources from waste management is key to strengthening the circular economy in Europe

Author: 
Özlem Durmus (EEA), European Topic Centre on Waste and Materials in a Green Economy (ETC/WMGE)
Publication Date: 
10/2019
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Ozlem Durmus

Europe relies heavily on material resources for almost all of society’s activities. Its extraction and production of material resources have significant impacts on the environment and human health, as well as the economy.

It is essential to reuse resources in European economies, keeping their value high, delivering value for longer periods and reducing the need to use virgin materials. While progress is being made in Europe, by implementing an ambitious waste policy and the Circular Economy Framework, significant amounts of valuable resources are still lost through inefficient waste management practices.

This briefing describes material losses in Europe for some key waste streams, namely waste electrical and electronic equipment, end-of-life batteries, plastic and textile waste.

EEA briefing: The plastic waste trade in the circular economy

Author: 
Lars Mortensen (EEA)
Publication Date: 
10/2019
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Lars Mortensen

Europe is at crossroads regarding its management of plastic, plastic waste and the plastic waste trade. Rapidly growing amounts of plastic have negative environmental and climate impacts.

Plastic and plastic waste are traded worldwide. Exporting plastic waste from the EU to Asia is a means of dealing with insufficient recycling capacities in the EU. Waste import restrictions in China have shifted exports to other countries. Because some types of plastic waste have been added to the United Nations Basel Convention, the option of exporting plastic waste is becoming increasingly difficult.

This briefing provides an overview of exports of plastic waste from the 28 EU Member States (EU-28) to other countries and discusses its possible consequences and opportunities.

Country factsheets on resource efficiency and circular economy in Europe

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Author: 
Bart Ullstein, Bettina-Bahn Walkowiak, Jeroen Gillabel, Margareta Wahlström, Jutta Laine-Ylijoki, Dirk Nelen, Theo Geerken, Veronique Van Hoof and Evelien Dils (ETC/WMGE) and Pawel Kazmierczyk and Daniel Montalvo (EEA)
Publication Date: 
07/2019
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Daniel Montalvo

A set of 32 country factsheets has been produced that summarise policies and initiatives on the area of resource efficiency and circular economy.

These country profiles are based on information reported by the Eionet network and, in particular, the National Reference Centres on Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy. The information is current as of March 2019, when members of Eionet verified the content of their respective profiles.

Each country profile was prepared as part of the 2019 European Environment Agency review of material resource efficiency, circular economy and raw material supply policies, which aimed to collect, analyse, and disseminate information about experience with the development and implementation of these policies in EEA member and cooperating countries.

EEA Report: Preventing plastic waste in Europe

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Author: 
Henning Wilts (ETC/WMGE), Ioannis Bakas (EEA). , Dirk Nelen, Kévin Le Blevennec, Ulrike Meinel, Bettina Bahn‑Walkowiak, Mona Arnold (all ETC/WMGE). Lars Fogh Mortensen, Almut Reichel, Daniel Montalvo (EEA)
Publication Date: 
06/2019
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Ioannis Bakas

This report from the European Environment Agency reviews waste prevention policies in Europe with a focus on how these policies approach the issue of plastics and plastic waste.

Waste prevention is at the centre of EU waste legislation as it delivers the most effective results in dealing with environmental issues around waste, placing it at the top of EU and national waste strategies and legislation.

Waste prevention can be implemented in any waste stream, but it needs to be customised to reflect each stream's particularities. This report focuses on plastic waste, as there is potential for substantial mitigation of the environmental issues raised by increased plastic consumption through the use of waste prevention instruments and mechanisms.

 

The Circular Economy in policy and scientific research

The Circular Economy in policy and scientific research

Joanna Kulczycka
Author: 
Joanna Kulczycka
Publication Date: 
12/2019
Country: 
Poland

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Joanna Kulczycka

A broad selection of articles on Circular Economy and its practices in Poland collected by prof. Joanna Kulczycka. After definitions and interperatations, this work is about circular economy related issues

  • indicators in selected EU countries
  • financing of business activities
  • matching circular business models with priority sectors in Poland
  • establishing measurement for circular economy transformation and its socio-economic impacts in Poland
  • indicators in Polish regional perspective
  • assessment of material consumption
  • supporting managerial accounting instruments
  • system upgrade
  • solutions for mining and processing waste
  • sustainable consumption
  • good practices at national and international level.

RREUSE - Vision for a New Fashion Season: Social and Circular

Vision for a New Fashion Season: Social and Circular

Vision for a New Fashion Season: Social and Circular
Author: 
RREUSE
Publication Date: 
12/2019
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Jana Zurkova

With textiles rightly rising as a key priority under the new European Commission, this document outlines RREUSE’s vision on how to achieve a more inclusive and circular textile sector that prioritises re-use and emphasises the role of social enterprises in the value chain as part of the solution.

This paper also provides a number of key recommendations as to what specific actions the Commission should address when developing policy initiatives for the sector.

Circular Berlin: how to develop circular economy in the city

Circular Berlin

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Author: 
Dina Padalkina
Publication Date: 
08/2018
Country: 
Germany

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Contact: 
Dina Padalkina

Berlin has the potential to become the first Circular City in Germany, due to its growing variety of initiatives, grass-roots and research work in the area of circular economy (CE).

This report provides information on the development of the project Circular Berlin, which started in 2018 and is financed by the EIT, under Horizon 2020.

The project consists of 4 phases:

  1. Pre-assessment (conducting awareness meeting with CE professionals, identifying CE initiatives, finding partners etc.) - already completed
  2. Feasibility Check
  3. Vision Development
  4. Implementation

Circular Cities - A practical approach to develop a city roadmap focusing on utilities

Circular Cities - A practical approach to developpin a city roadmap focusing on utilities

Circular Cities
Author: 
Charleyne Terry , Irene Vivas Lalinde, Cristian Matti, Morten Meldgaard
Publication Date: 
12/2019
Country: 
France

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Contact: 
Charleyne TERRY

Cities can play a pivotal role in creating an enabling environment through regulations and incentives, but the private sector needs to collaborate and explore the cross-sectoral synergies required to achieve a circular model. There are immense opportunities for public-private collaboration in achieving goals that might not otherwise be possible for cities to accomplish alone.

Cities are embedding circular thinking in their utility processes, placing the onus on the private sector to come up with new business models that are both economically viable and ecologically sustainable. This could potentially result in a situation whereby circular products and services become the new market standard.

Karma connects surplus food with consumers for a lower price

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France, Sweden, United Kingdom

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Karma is a Swedish startup founded in Stockholm, November 2016. Their app connects surplus food from restaurants, cafes and grocery stores to consumers for a lower price. As a result, users eat great food for less and businesses receive an additional revenue stream — all while reducing food waste.

Circular economy strategies for adaptive reuse of cultural heritage buildings to reduce environmental impacts

Author: 
Gillian Foster
Publication Date: 
12/2019
Country: 
EU

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Cultural heritage buildings hold a unique niche in the urban landscape, as they embody the local cultural and historic characteristics that define communities. Extending their useful lifespan has multiple benefits that go beyond the project itself to the surrounding area, contributing to sustainable development, but decision-makers lack knowledge of the environmental benefits and tools for adaptive reuse of cultural heritage buildings.

To this end, this article provides a circular economy framework for the adaptive reuse of cultural heritage buildings to reduce environmental impacts. The framework integrates methods and techniques from building and construction literature that aim to reduce lifecycle environmental impact of buildings through a circular product supply chain approach.

Luxembourg launches “Circularity Dataset Initiative” supported by major international industry leaders

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Luxembourg

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The Circularity Dataset Initiative by the Ministry of the Economy of Luxembourg develops an industry standard providing a regulated framework for circular data on products throughout value chains, from raw materials to finished products, from the use phase to re-usage and recycling.

Waste Management and the Circular Economy in Selected OECD Countries

OECD

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Author: 
OECD
Publication Date: 
09/2019
Country: 
Other (global)

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This report provides a cross-country review of waste, materials management and circular economy policies in selected OECD countries, drawing on OECD’s Environmental Performance Reviews for 11 countries during the period 2010-17. It presents the main achievements in the countries reviewed, along with common trends and policy challenges, and provides insights into the effectiveness and efficiency of waste, materials management and circular economy policy frameworks.

As the selected reviews were published over a seven-year period, information for some countries may be more recent than for others. Nevertheless, the policy recommendations emerging from the reviews may provide useful lessons for other OECD countries and partner economies.

Building a circular economy - how a new approach to infrastructure can put an end to waste

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Author: 
Libby Peake, Caterina Brandmayr
Publication Date: 
11/2019
Country: 
United Kingdom

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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.

GROWING in CIRCLES

growing in circles cover page

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Author: 
UN Environment
Publication Date: 
11/2019
Country: 
Other (United Nations)

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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.

Circular Economy Competences. Making the Case for Lifelong Learning

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Spain

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Lina Klemkaite
Amaia San Cristobal

Making the transition to a circular economy requires a pressing need for new skills, competences and approaches. Education, and training have a critical role to play in delivering and updating these skills.

The Erasmus+ CYCLE project created a set of tools and resources to support adult trainers in developing and expanding their professional and educational skills in the circular economy.

The Cycle Competence Centre (CYCLE CC) is a platform where educators can find training and guidance tools in 6 languages to help them introduce circular economy in different learning environments.

Facts and Figures about plastic and plastic pollution: the Plastic Atlas 2019

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Author: 
Heinrich Böll Foundation, #breakfreefromplastic
Publication Date: 
11/2019
Country: 
EU, Germany

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Contact: 
Lisa Kuch
Lili Fuhr
Delphine Lévi Alvarès

The Plastic Atlas contains more than 49 detailed infographics covering a broad range of topics regarding the plastic pollution crisis looking along the entire value chain of plastic. The atlas highlights the scale of the crisis, and the global impacts of plastic production, consumption and disposal on other key global challenges such as human health and climate change. It also outlines the role of plastic for key industrial sectors such as agriculture and tourism and describes the corporate interests and drivers behind the plastic crisis. Finally, the Plastic Atlas presents an overview of key plastic-free regulations, zero waste solutions and a snapshot of the growing global movement working towards a future free from plastic pollution.

Circular economy for climate neutrality: Setting the priorities for the EU

Circular economy for climate neutrality: Setting the priorities for the EU

Author: 
Vasileios Rizos, Milan Elkerbout, Christian Egenhofer
Publication Date: 
11/2019
Country: 
EU

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Vasileios Rizos
Milan Elkerbout
Christian Egenhofer

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. 

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