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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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Contact: 
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. 

Briefing on textiles in Europe's circular economy

Textiles
Author: 
European Environment Agency
Publication Date: 
11/2019
Country: 
EU

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Textiles are fundamental to our society and employs millions of people worldwide, making it among the largest in the world and an important part of Europe's manufacturing industry. However, textile production and consumption cause significant environmental, climate and social impacts by using resources, water, land and chemicals and emitting greenhouse gases and pollutants. 

In Europe, the sector employs 1.7 million people and Europeans consume on average 26 kg of textiles per person per year. This briefing by the European Environment Agency provides an EU perspective of the environmental and climate pressures from textile production and consumption, and discusses how circular business models and regulation can help move us towards a circular textiles economy.

Paving the way for a circular economy: insights on status and potentials

Paving the way for a circular economy: insights on status and potentials

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Author: 
Mieke De Schoenmakere (EEA), Ybele Hoogeveen (EEA), Jeroen Gillabel (Flemish Institute for Technological Research VITO), Saskia Manshoven (Flemish Institute for Technological Research VITO), Evelien Dils (Flemish Institute for Technological Research VITO)
Publication Date: 
11/2019
Country: 
EU

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This report by the EEA highlights that fostering circular material use requires a broad system perspective and extensive stakeholder involvement. The entire product lifecycle — including the design, production, consumption and waste phases — needs to be addressed in a coherent way. The enablers of and barriers to circular business models need to be well understood and addressed before innovation and competitiveness can be enhanced.

EU Circular Economy and Trade Report

EU circular economy and trade

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Author: 
Kettunen, M., Gionfra, S. and Monteville, M.
Publication Date: 
11/2019
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Marianne Kettunen

This policy paper by the Institute for European Environmental Policy examines the interface between the EU circular economy, trade and sustainable development. It identifies the expected global impacts associated with the EU’s shift to circularity and investigates the role of trade in either incentivising or hindering this process.

Finally, the paper highlights the links between the circular economy, trade and sustainable development, emphasising the need for better policy coherence among these areas in the EU.

Croatian cooperative Humana Nova gives used clothing a new life, and its members a new dream to fulfill

Humana Nova

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Country: 
Croatia

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Social Cooperative Humana Nova Čakovec encourages the employment of disabled and other socially excluded persons for the production and sale of quality and innovative textile products made from ecological and recycled fabrics for the local and regional markets.

Methodological Guide “Beneficial use of dredged sediments in road engineering”

Methodological Guide “Beneficial use of dredged sediments in road engineering”

European Sediment Network
Author: 
Nor-Edine Abriak (Ecole des Mines de Douai), Yannick Mamindy-Pajany (Ecole des Mines de Douai), Nicolas Proulhac (IDRA Environnement), Patrice Rivard (Université de Sherbrooke), SEDIMATERIAUX (Scientific Advisory Group) , Gaëlle Mesmacques (DREAL Nord Pas de Calais), Patrice Maurel (Conseil Régionale Nord Pas de Calais), Samira Brakni (CD2E) (currently: Cyril Scribot)
Publication Date: 
05/2019
Country: 
EU

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Contact: 
Bruno Lemière

This guide presents how dredged sediments can be beneficially used in road engineering with a view to sustainable development and to the protection of the environment and of populations.

This is the result of research carried out by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (DGCE) at the School of Mines of Douai for more than ten years on the theme of using dredged sediments. It is coherent with French regulations and the methodological framework (ADEME, 2010; SETRA, 2011) that prevailed at the time of the work.

This guide is not intended for use of sediments abstracted from a river system. It is only intended for harbour and canal dredgings, where restitution to river systems is usually not possible -at least economically.

Policy Recommendations: Towards a Zero Waste Textiles Industry

Policy Recommendations: Towards a Zero Waste Textiles Industry

Author: 
Interreg NWE Fibersort project
Publication Date: 
11/2019
Country: 
Netherlands

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Contact: 
Hilde van Duijn

The Fibersort project aims at realising the widespread implementation of the automated sorting technology by validating it as a key value adding innovation to enable textile-to-textile recycling.

While the challenges and opportunities of used textiles are increasingly in the spotlight of governments, industry, and civil society, considerable system changes are required to transition towards a circular economy for textiles. Throughout this report, policy recommendations are formulated showing the legislative, economic and soft instruments that regional, national and the European governments have at their disposal to create an enabling environment for textiles collection, sorting and recycling at scale.

Port of Dunkirk reuses contaminated sediment in road construction

sedimed
Country: 
France

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Contaminated sediment from the Port of Dunkirk has been re-used in road structures since 2002, when the Port started to cooperate with the Ecole des Mines de Douai and various industrial partners in order to design alternative materials for stabilised sub-base road layers.

MUD jeans: circular denims (almost) never die

Circular jeans from MUD Jeans with printed waistband label.

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Country: 
Netherlands

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Customers from the MUD brand can lease or buy their jeans, benefit from a free repair service, and return the worn out items to have them recycled into new denim products - so that the iconic piece of clothing remains in use for the longuest time. This brand philosophy saves 78% water and 61% CO2-eq per jeans compared to industry standards.

New Plastics Economy Global Commitment 2019 Progress Report

New Plastics Economy Global Commitment progress report launched

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Author: 
Ellen MacArthur Foundation , UN Environment Programme
Publication Date: 
10/2019
Country: 
Other (global)

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The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the UN Environment Programme have published the first annual New Plastics Economy Global Commitment progress report. Presented at the Our Ocean Conference in Oslo, the report provides an unprecedented level of transparency on how almost 200 businesses and governments are reshaping the plastics system.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Companies set out actions to eliminate problematic plastic packaging, and increase the use of recycled plastic in packaging by more than five-fold by 2025, equivalent to keeping 25 million barrels of oil in the ground every year
  • Unilever, Mars, Incorporated, and PepsiCo announce significant reductions in virgin plastic use by 2025
  • Analysis carried out for the report shows that on average around 60% of business signatories’ plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable today. Through the Global Commitment, they have committed to making this 100% by 2025
  • Government signatories including France, Rwanda, the UK, and the cities of São Paulo (Brazil) and Austin (USA), are putting in place policy measures that include bans, public procurement, extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes, fiscal measures, and incentives for research and development
  • The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the UN Environment Programme call for more businesses and governments to sign the commitment and continue to raise the ambition level.

This announcement is an important step in the Foundation’s mission to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy. Launched in 2018, the Global Commitment now includes over 400 signatories, which are aligned on a path to build a new plastics economy. Business signatories, including companies representing 20% of all plastic packaging produced globally, are working to eliminate the plastic we don't need, to innovate so that all plastic we do need is 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and to circulate all the plastic we use.

To find out more visit www.newplasticseconomy.org

CleanCup fights plastic pollution one reusable cup at a time

CleanCup logo

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Country: 
France

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CleanCup® distributes, collects and washes reusable cups automatically, on site, in order to eradicate the use of disposable cups and improve the way of drinking.

Identifying the impact of the circular economy on the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods Industry: opportunities and challenges for businesses, workers and consumers – mobile phones as an example

Identifying the impact of the circular economy on the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods Industry: opportunities and challenges for businesses, workers and consumers – mobile phones as an example

mobile pone case study of circular economy impact CEPS EESC

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Author: 
Centre for European Policy Studies
Publication Date: 
10/2019
Country: 
EU

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Mobile phones, particularly smartphones, have undergone a period of rapid growth to become virtually indispensable to today's lifestyle. Yet their production, use and disposal can entail a significant environmental burden.

This study, commissioned by the European Economic and Social Committee and carried out by the Centre for European Policy Studies, looks at the opportunities and challenges arising from implementing circular economy approaches in the mobile phone value chain. A review of the value chain and different circular approaches is complemented by a scenario analysis that aims to quantify the potential impacts of circular approaches such as recycling, refurbishment and lifetime extension.

The study finds that there is a large untapped potential for recovering materials from both the annual flow of new mobile phones sold in Europe once they reach the end of their life and the accumulated stock of unused, so-called "hibernating" devices in EU households. Achieving high recycling rates for these devices can offer opportunities to reduce EU dependence on imported materials and make secondary raw materials available on the EU market, as shown in the picture below.

Drawing on the empirical findings and the analysis conducted, this study recommends policy action in the following areas:

  • Collection rates of old unused mobile phone devices are low, which means there is largely unexploited potential in the EU for recovering valuable materials from these devices.
  • Although consumers generally show willingness to engage in circular economy practices for mobile phones, in reality only a few do so.
  • Various challenges for reuse and refurbishment businesses stem from EU legislation, including regulatory complexity and "preparation for use" in the WEE directive

As such, policy-makers should close the collection gap for mobile phone devices, which could in turn create jobs in the refurbishment sector. Extending the lifetime of mobile phones can also provide CO2 mitigation benefits, particularly from displacing the production of new devices.

Rediscover Cycling puts life back into unwanted bicycles

Rediscover Cycling

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Country: 
Ireland

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Rediscover Cycling is a bicycle reuse social enterprise located at the Rediscovery Centre in Ballymun, Dublin.

Rediscover Fashion promotes circular design by giving new life to unwanted textiles

Rediscover Fashion

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Country: 
Ireland

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Rediscover Fashion is a social enterprise that produces 100 % redesigned and repurposed clothing, accessories, and home ware ranges from unwanted textiles, preventing the materials from being sent to landfill.

Rediscover Paint collects unwanted paint and prepares it for reuse

Rediscover Paint

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Country: 
Ireland

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This social enterprise collects unwanted paint donated at local recycling centres, filters and remixes it to create new paint sold at the Rediscovery Centre’s Eco Store.

Rediscover Furniture promotes upcycling by giving new life to old furniture

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Country: 
Ireland

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Rediscover Furniture is a furniture restoration and upcycling social enterprise housed at the Rediscovery Centre in Ballymun, Dublin.

ZERO BRINE recovers valuable resources from saline wastewater in the Polish mining industry

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Poland

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ZERO BRINE is running a pilot project to recover valuable resources from wastewater in the Polish mining industry so that they can be reused in other sectors.

Tarpaper: No more roofing-felt waste!

Tarpaper asphalt

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Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden

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Tarpaper Recycling is a recycling specialist minimising the environmental impacts of construction waste. It has developed a patented method to recycle bitumen from roofing-felt waste by converting it into a material that can be used as a binder in asphalt production.

Reverse Resources promotes upcycling of textile leftovers and creates supply chain transparency with online platform

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Estonia, Other (Bangladesh)

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Reverse Resources is an Estonian company that offers an online “circular” solution that tracks and traces waste flows by connecting manufacturers, waste handlers, recyclers/spinners and brands on one platform by offering 360 degree transparency, data accuracy and real-time transactions on waste flows.

SWEETS hotel upcycles Amsterdam's bridge houses into unique guest rooms

sweets hotel room example

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Netherlands

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Since 2012, SWEETS hotel has been adapting Amsterdam's abandoned bridge houses into unique flats, thus preventing their demolition.

Policy enablers to accelerate the circular economy: Scaling up actions across regions and stakeholders

wbsd report infographic

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Author: 
World Business Council for Sustainable Development
Publication Date: 
09/2019
Country: 
EU
International

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Over the past couple of years, as companies start to understand the opportunities that lie under the concept of circular economy, the circularity conversation has gained significant momentum. At the same time, national and regional governments are developing frameworks and regulations to promote the circular economy.

Effective policymaking is crucial to accelerate and scale up circular actions in the economy. It supports businesses in overcoming hurdles by stimulating innovative projects and long-term investments in circularity, facilitating collaboration and partnerships, and producing tangible results.

Learning from successful policies can help inform future policies to promote wider actions in other sectors and regions over time.

By highlighting some representative pioneers in circular economy policy, exploring key enablers from these policies, describing how other regions could replicate these enablers and providing recommendations, this publication aims to provide insights from the policy perspective and to feed into the ongoing development of other initiatives and policies related to the circular economy globally.

Destination climate neutrality: a five year policy blueprint for Europe

destination climate neutrality
Author: 
EEB, IDDRI, CLIMACT
Publication Date: 
09/2019
Country: 
EU

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Destination Climate Neutrality brings together leading recommendations of think tanks, scientists, thought leaders and NGOs to offer a policy blueprint for how best to propel Europe towards net zero carbon emissions in the coming five years of the Von der Leyen term. It offers sector-by-sector analysis, targets and initiatives in the fields of governance, finance, industry, energy, transport, the circular economy, agriculture and employment.

On circular economy, the report identifies challenges in:

  • a lack of EU targets for waste prevention, reuse, repair and refurbishment
  • no monitoring framework for material flows
  • contamination of materials by hazardous ingredients
  • high demand for biomass

The authors identify opportunities in job creation, cleaner supply chains and product policies.

BlueCity revitalises abandoned Rotterdam water park into circular laboratory

BlueCity, Rotterdam

The BlueCity business park is one of Rotterdam's unique landmarks: formerly a water park resort, the complex is now a circular incubator housing over 30 startups experimenting towards a sustainable future.

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