ISATIÓ is a Brussels SME that recovers samples from the textiles industry to create unique designer clothing, with manufacturing all done locally and the supply chain covered entirely by bicycle couriers.
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RePack is the easiest way to implement circular economy in eCommerce. Using reusable and returnable RePack packaging service means sustainability in every package.
The reusable RePack bags are and made of durable and recycled materials and come in three adjustable sizes. They replace single-use packaging as the customer chooses RePack as the mean of package for delivery from the webstore. Once empty, the RePacks are designed to fold into letter size and can be returned to a postbox, free of charge, anywhere in the world. A voucher is sent to thank the customer for the return. This is the circular economy in action.
Green Alliance Circular Economy Task Force
The Circular Economy Task Force is a business group convened by the Green Alliance. It is a forum for policy, innovation and business thinking on resource use in the UK and is currently chaired by Colin Church, chief executive of IOM3. This task force has already produced a number of reports on resource policy, recycling opportunities and manufacturing productivity.
The task force’s most recent report, Completing the Circle, has placed a spotlight on the amount of material often lost to the economy, once collected, and proposes new measures to complement recycling targets which would help to 'pull' these materials back into use in manufacturing.
Some of the task force's recommendations were picked up by the UK’s Environmental Audit Committee’s Growing a circular economy report, and by the Scottish Government’s Resource Use and the Circular Economy inquiry.
The task force has also established the North Sea Resource Roundabout project, working with the Embassy of the Netherlands in the UK to identify the regulatory barriers to the trade and use of recycled materials across European countries, and working with regulators to develop solutions.
The current members of the task force are Kingfisher, Viridor, Walgreens Boots Alliance, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, and Veolia.
Versnellingshuis Nederland Circulair! (Netherlands Circular Accelerator) is a business support network created by VNO-NCW / MKB Nederland, their regional affiliates and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water. Despite much interest in the circular transition, creating a successful enterprise that effectively keeps resources and products in use longer is not that straightforward due to a lack of knowledge and too little collaboration with stakeholders.
The Versnellinshuis helps overcome these challenges by:
- improving the preconditions for circular entrepreneurship through dissemination of financing opportunities, promotion of market incentives and discussion on regulatory barriers at regional, national and European levels
- matchmaking entrepreneurs across regions and value chains to stimulate sustainable solutions.
In addition to hosting a website for circular innovators to connect directly, the Versnellingshuis launches 5 groundbreaking projects and fosters 3 regional collaborations yearly and contributes to a circular transition with the following programmes as well:
- Holland Circular Hotspot: network for international promotion of Dutch CE activities
- VANG: knowledge and best practice exchange for local authority waste managers
- Plastic Pact NL: bringing 75 value chain players together to stimulate less plastic and more recycling.
For a brief overview, view the video below:
Circwaste is a 7-year LIFE IP project that promotes efficient use of material flows, waste prevention and new waste and resource management concepts. It is coordinated by the Circular Economy Service Centre established by the Finnish Environment Institute.
The Service Centre provides regional operators with expert support and disseminates information on good practices in the context of the circular economy. It distributes information on material-efficient public procurement, harmful substances, establishing industrial symbioses and the possibilities of funding new initiatives. In particular, it supports regional working groups and a select number of pioneering municipalities in preparing their own circular economy roadmaps, which should be adopted by late 2019.
A regional cooperation network provides support and expert assistance for developing the circular economy and implementing the national waste plan in Southwest Finland, Central Finland, South Karelia and North Karelia.
The circwaste.fi portal (in English), which distributes information on national good practices in circular economy, similar to 'Good news from Finland', is an abridged version of the Finnish-language service materiaalitkiertoon.fi.
To learn more about circwaste activities watch the video below:
Swedish Lifecycle Center
The Swedish Life Cycle Center is an initiative by the Swedish Energy Agency, hosted by Chalmers University of Technology, which strengthens collaboration and engages more organizations to apply a life cyle perspective in Sweden.
The platform, designed for academia, industry, research institutes and government agencies, has been active for 20+ years, counts 14 partners and is supported by 7 government agencies. In 2018, it organized 80 meetings for 370 lifecycle professionals.
The lifecycle center accomplishes its objectives with partnerships for several activities such as: network conferences, seminars, webinars, education, initiating research projects, collaboration and communication activities.
Circular Economy Academy
The Circular Economy Academy is a free mentoring and support programme, set up by the Rediscovery Centre, which is the National Centre for the Circular Economy in Ireland. The programme assists social enterprises and community organisations in any part of Ireland to move their activities towards sustainability and embrace the circular economy.
The Academy provides business support services built on the Rediscovery Centre’s vast knowledge of social enterprise development and design thinking concepts. The service includes advice for start-up, circular business planning, development, funding, diversification, and training. The Academy also supports organisations to replicate the Rediscovery Centre’s successful paint, furniture, fashion and furniture reuse initiatives.
Each service is tailored to suit the needs of the participating organisation. The Academy also offers incubation and regional clinics.
State of Green
State of Green is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership from Denmark. It facilitates relations with international stakeholders and is a one-point entry to more than 500 leading Danish players working to drive the global transition to a sustainable, low-carbon, resource-efficient society.
As "Moving towards a circular economy" is one of the network's four global challenges, State of Green is highly active in communicating Denmark's policy and business leadership in this field. Since inception, the platform has:
UK Circular Plastics Network
The UK Circular Plastics Network (UKCPN) brings together diverse users of plastic products to reduce plastic waste entering the environment through a programme of networking and knowledge-sharing events, and related support activities.
- Eliminating the volume of plastic waste arising from within the UK.
- Raising awareness and sharing best practice to improve the rate of UK plastic recycling.
- Sharing best practices to reduce confusion among citizens and highlighting user-centred design.
- Showcasing innovation focused on reducing the amount of plastic ending up in the environment.
With support from UK Research and Innovation, UKCPN forms part of the Plastics Research Innovation Fund (PRIF), which is engaging Britain’s best scientists and innovators to help move the country towards more circular economic and sustainable approaches to plastics.
The two-year programme brings together those with solutions to the problem and facilitates circular supply chain engagement with those solutions. The UKPCN will host more than 12 events during this period and launch a website for the community to interact directly, while also publishing a directory of companies active in this sector as a landscape map accessible to all members.
UKCPN also has signed up as an engagement partner of the UK Plastics Pact.
With Sika's adhesive, conveyor belts can be repaired on-site to save resources and increase longevity
Sika has developed a high-performance elastomer for the clean repair of the rubber substrate of conveyor belts and industrial rubber elements. This "liquid rubber" enables on-site repair and lengthens the product life of used belts.
Circular Economy Update Report 2019
The Ecopreneur.eu landscape review of circular economy policy in the EU Member States aims to inspire these countries to accelerate their circular transition. Combining the EU's Monitoring Framework with other rankings, databases and reports, Ecopreneur presents 28 country profiles using a mix of quantitative data and qualitative information to highlight specific indicators. These range from waste generated per capita to voting behaviour on EU proposals on the circular economy.
The report also describes the current performance, initiatives, most relevant organisations, policies, challenges and examples of good practice for each Member State. The country profiles show 28 unique different trajectories towards the circular economy. Some countries and regions, such as the Netherlands, Scotland, Slovenia, France, Belgium and Finland, are already leading the way. Each country profile concludes with Ecopreneur’s recommendations, with the following overarching key messages for all EU Member States:
- Start a Green Deal on Circular Procurement
- Create circular “hubs” to support companies with circular models
- Create a national circular economy roadmap with concrete targets
- Improve and extend the extended producer responsibility (EPR) to cover ecomodulation of fees
- Introduce low VAT rates for repair services, resold goods and transactions with clearly defined social goals
- Create a “Green New Deal” to shift taxes from labour to resources
- Shift investment away from municipal waste incineration.
Circular Economy and Lifelong Learning
The Circular Economy Competences, Making the Case for Lifelong Learning report, published by ACR+ and Zero Waste Scotland , builds on the workshop these orgnisations hosted in the Euroepan Parliament on 19 February 2019. It gathers the experiences participants shared in that workshop, and is meant to help educators, policymakers and managers of NGOs involved in training and educational organisations to promote the development of local circular economy loops.
The three chapters of this booklet cover different areas of the lifelong learning landscape:
- Circular thinking in education. Educational designers will find useful insights on the promotion of circular holistic approach in schools; a bird’s eye view on how tertiary education is integrating the circular economy into its educational offer; the creation of attractive learning pathways in adult training;
- Upskilling waste, repair & reuse industry. Policymakers and professionals in the field of vocational training will find useful references to the development of professional standards and competence profiles for the 3Rs industries;
- Facilitating the transition towards a circular economy. The last chapter contains an analysis of the links between Industry 4.0 and the circular economy in Italy and the case history of a network of municipalities that have developed training courses to equip local authority staff for the circular transition. In conclusion, a final article analyses the possible positive correlations between entrepreneurial education and the circular economy.
Circular Oslo promotes multi-stakeholder collaboration to accelerate the circular transition in the Oslo Region by sharing knowledge and expertise for reduced material consumption, while supporting regional activities having positive social, economic and environmental impact. To achieve this, Circular Oslo:
- encourages and inspires by identifying and highlighting municipalities, organizations, projects and initiatives that implement circular solutions and innovative business models
- develops and provides access to tools, workshops, and educational resources for public entities, communities, NGOs, businesses, entrepreneurs, and students to better understand and implement circular solutions
- collaborates with similar initiatives whose values and mission align
- strengthens links with other regions, both nationally and internationally.
In 2019, Circular Oslo has begun mapping circular economy policy actions from the Nordic region and wider Europe to support the development of a national CE strategy for Norway.
CupClub is a tailored end-to-end returnable packaging service for drinks, helping to eliminate single-use plastic packaging for a more sustainable future. It replaces the need to purchase single-use packaging by providing smart, re-usable packaging as a service to retailers, brands and businesses - all while contributing 50% fewer CO2 emissions as compared to disposable cup usage.
BusinessEurope priority paper on circular economy in the next EU political cycle
Businesses across Europe are fully engaged to maximise the value of materials, transition to circular business models and achieve a circular economy. This can be best achieved through a functioning market for secondary raw materials (SRMs) and circular products. A real market for SRMs requires a global level-playing field with similar regulatory frameworks and standards, but within the EU several challenges and untapped opportunities still remain. Among others, BusinessEurope recommends policy-makers to:
- put more emphasis on removing inconsistencies and filling the gaps in the current policy framework, starting with a better implementation of the existing waste acquis, including more guidance to Member States and performing ex-post impact assessments on the benefits of full compliance.
- develop an enhanced investment strategy for SRMs to stimulate the market, with support from public and private spending on innovation, education and reskilling, an effective circular public procurement strategy, and introduce smart eco-modulation of fees.
- integrate circular economy thinking into other legislation to maximise its benefits, in particular in the fields of product and material design, climate change, digitalisation, bioeconomy, security of supply and waste shipments.
- collaborate with stakeholders to improve consumer engagement by reducing barriers and increasing incentives, improving awareness and knowledge on consumption behaviour and the lifecycle of materials based on a common EU methodology, and boosting the opportunities for industrial symbiosis.
Votechnik has created a unique state-of-the-art recycling technology, the ALR 4000 machine, which safely removes hazardous waste materials from LCD flatscreen panels and monitors through a fully automated process.
No time to waste: Unlocking the circular potential of the Baltic Sea Region
The "No time to waste: unlocking the circular potential of the Baltic Sea Region" report, prepared by Politiyka Insight for the 10th annual forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) attempts to review the state of circular economy in that region, while assessing the challenges and opportunities connected with a circular transition. The report also looks into the future by trying to identify key trends that will impact the BSR countries until 2030, and on that basis project the future development of the circular economy, along with alternative scenarios.
The report shows that as of 2019 only Finland and Germany have adopted a circular economy strategy, while Poland, Estonia and Sweden are drafting one. On the other hand, there are circular economy projects active or planned in all countries neighbouring the Baltic sea, except for Lithuania and Latvia. According to its baseline scenario, "the transition to a circular economy will only happen partially. Cooperation between the BSR countries will remain on a roughly the same level, with EU policy as the main unifying factor. The most significant changes will be visible in the production sector".
Circular economy – From review of theories and practices to development of implementation tools
The paper provides an overview of the literature on Circular Economy (CE) theoretical approaches, strategies and implementation cases. After analyzing different CE approaches and the underlying principles the paper then proceeds with the main goal of developing tools for CE implementation. Two tools are presented: a CE Strategies Database, which includes 45 CE strategies that are applicable to different parts of the value chain and secondly a CE Implementation Database, which includes over 100 case studies categorized by Scope, Parts of the Value Chain that are involved, as well as by the used Strategy andImplementation Level. An analysis of the state of the art in CE implementation is also included in the paper.
One of the observations from the analysis is that while Parts of the Value Chain (recovery/recycling, consumption/use) are prominently featured, others, including manufacturing and distribution, are rarely involved in CE. On the other hand, the Implementation Levels of the used Strategies indicate that many market-ready solutions already exist. The Scope of current CE implementation considers selected products, materials and sectors, while systemic changes to the economy are rarely suggested. Finally, the CE monitoring methods and suggestions for future development are also discussed in this paper. The analysis of the theoretical approaches can serve as an introduction to CE concept, while the developed tools can be instrumental for designing new CE cases.
Unlocking circular business: A framework of barriers and drivers
Circular economy increasingly attracts the interest of business, policy makers and academia in the search for answers to sustainability challenges. While earlier studies have presented drivers that support the introduction of new business concepts for circular economy, as well as barriers that hinder the rate of innovation in the field, no systematic categorizations of such factors have been brought forward.
Drawing on current literature, a framework of drivers and barriers is introduced, including seven distinct areas: environmental, economic, social, political and institutional, technological and informational, supply chain, and organizational factors. The appearance and content of these areas in practice have been examined in four case organizations by conducting thirty-six qualitative, semi-structured interviews. Empirical illustrations of the potential barriers and drivers provide managerial implications for better execution of circular business.
A long-term strategy for a European circular economy – setting the course for success
The concept of circular economy is gaining traction. This has led to various policy actions throughout the life cycle of a product ranging from measures on eco-design to recycling targets. Despite the progressive incorporation of the circular economy in industrial and innovation policies, the EU and Member States policies have a strong focus on increasing recycling rates, reducing landfilling and creating markets for secondary raw materials. On their own these measures are insufficient to result in a paradigm shift in resource use and current targets inadequate to provide a clear direction of travel.
Within the framework of THINK 2030, an IEEP project to support a science-based agenda for European environmental policy beyond 2020, the authors set out what policy actions the EU and Member States can and should take in the coming decade to achieve a circular shift in Europe.