On December 4, MEP Igor Šoltes will host a seminar on the inherent benefits of using public procurement to achieve sustainable development in the European Parliament.
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Copa and Cogeca, Europe's leading interest group for farmers, is organising a workshop in Brussels to present best practice in combating food loss and food waste from across EU farms and cooperatives, with participation of EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis.
The Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform annual conference will take place on 6 and 7 March 2019.
The SCREEN Final Conference was held in Rome on 18 and 19 October 2018, during the two-day Forum CompraVerde (BuyGreen), in order to present the results of the SCREEN project.
Shiro Alga Carta paper, patented by Favini in the ’90s, is the pioneer in their upcycling ecological paper range. It uses algae from the Venice lagoon, whose proliferation would put at risk the lagoon’s fragile ecosystem.
Crush, launched in 2012, is the second product in Favini's upcycling ecological paper range. Its production uses the equivalent of 15% of virgin pulp paper in by-products from food industry.
WIPAG recycles post-industrial and post-consumer plastic waste from several industries with its main focus on automotive parts. Both composite separation and de-coating process allow for end products with excellent performances.
The BioRegions Forum 2018 will take place in Barcelona on 13 November 2018.
The EIB has already supported the transition to a circular economy with over €2.1 bn in project financing, including the first of a kind Aanekoski bio-pulp mill in Finland, the largest circular investment to date in Europe. An overview of such projects, alongside the bank's perception of the drivers to a circular economy (resource opportunities, technological development and the emerging socio-economic paradigm of sustainable development), corresponding opportunities and potential business models (circular design, value recovery, optimal use & circular support) is provided in this guide.
As the circular economy can actively contirbute to reducing carbon emissions and reaching wider environmental protection goals, the EIB is keen to finance projects contributing to this transition through a range of financing products, including EFSI and InnovFin for higher risk innovations. When doing so, it makes use of specific criteria to assess whether project are truly circular and attempts to categorise them within one of the aforementioned business models. During project assessment, further eligibility criteria are applied depending on the type of business model. These criteria, and more information about the bank's perception of circular economy strategies and project types, is provided in the guide's annexes.
To obtain empirical policy-relevant insights to assist with the implementation of the EU Circular Economy Action Plan, the European Commission requested a behavourial study that aimed to:
- identify barriers and trade-offs faced by consumers when deciding whether to engage in the CE, in particular whether to purchase a more or a less durable good, whether to have a good repaired, or to discard it and buy a replacement;
- establish the relative importance of economic, social and psychological factors that govern the extent to which consumers engage in the CE, especially purchasing durable products and seeking to repair products instead of disposing of them; and
- propose policy tools to enable and encourage consumers to engage in CE practices related to durability and reparability.
The study focused on five products: vacuum cleaners, televisions, dishwashers, smartphones and clothes. The methodology encompasses a systematic literature review, 50 stakeholder interviews, consumer focus groups, an online consumer survey with 12,064 participants, and a behavourial experiment with 6,042 participants. Whereas the survey collected information on consumers' perception of and experiences with circular practices, the financially incentivised experiments included a repairing and purchasing task.
Findings include a general willingness to engage but little practical action to date. Consumers appear to be hampered by insufficiently developed markets for repair, reuse and refurbish in addition to a lack of information regarding product durability and repairability. Such information appeared seminal in shifting purchasing decisions towards sustainable products in the behavourial experiment, highlighting great potential to bridge the gap between theoretical and practical engagement. This experiment also uncovered substantial consistency between a self-reported circular mindset and corresponding behaviour.
As product size and price increases, consumers also appear to have greater interest in repairability and durability. Whereas repairability is linked to spare parts, durability appears to follow from perceived product quality. Overall this study concludes that the price-quality ratio, followed by convenience, is the most important driver and simultaneously barrier for consumer engagement in the circular economy. Building on these finidngs, the study makes 5 recommendations for policy action to enhance consumer engagement in the circular economy:
- boost CE engagement by increasing awareness of the circular economy;
- make repairing products easier;
- create financial incentives for repairability and durability;
- make information on durability and repairability available at point of sale;
- strengthen legislation requiring the provision of accurate information to consumers.
The Consumer Insights into the Circular Economy event took place on 25 October 2018 in Brussels.
The updated bioeconomy strategy for Europe was launched on Monday 22 October as part of an event held under the Austrian Presidency.
The second meeting of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform Coordination Group took place on 18 and 19 October 2018.
The EIB Copenhagen Conference on the Circular Economy took place on 25 October 2018 to discuss financing the circular economy in biotechnology, urban development and plastics.
The Symbola Foundation, Enel & CSR Europe are organising a conference on “100 Italian Circular Economy Stories” on November 15 in Brussels.
The European Coatings Technology Forum will take place in Berlin in October 2019.
The NoAW project is dealing with innovative approaches to turn agricultural waste into ecological and economic assets. The NoAW Knowledge Exchange Stakeholder Platform aims to:
- provide a forum for knowledge, information exchange and discussion with agro-food businesses, farmers, biogas processors, food companies, scientific community, authorities relating to agro-waste management and valorisation issues in the light of their needs and expectations.
- foster an understanding of what is new in agriculture waste management from technical, environmental and business concepts / cross-chain valorisation aspects, including development opportunities and potential applications of innovative bio-processes and bio-products.
- provide guidance to NoAW based on the key activities of the members of the KESP, their needs and problems to ensure that the project activities and outcomes are focused on priority areas and the proposed processes and technologies will meet the expectations of the stakeholders.
The NoAW project is coordinated by INRA (France) and the consortium involves 32 partners from universities, public research organizations and other institutions from a dozen countries.
The EU Guidelines for the feed use of food no longer intended for human consumption are an integral part of the communication Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy.
They were developed by the Commission in close cooperation with the food, feed, animal health and environmental authorities of the Member States and the members of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste, as well as other stakeholders.
The valorisation of the nutrients of food which, for commercial reasons or owing to problems of manufacturing, is no longer intended for human consumption, but can be safely used in animal nutrition, prevents these materials from being composted, transformed in biogas or disposed of by incineration or landfilling.
Available in all EU languages by following the Official Journal link, these guidelines should assist the national and local competent authorities, as well as the operators in the food chain, in applying the relevant EU legislation. Legal clarity is therefore enhanced and examples of best practices that are in compliance with the current EU regulatory framework are presented while preventing unnecessary administrative burden.
The report ‘Circular Economy in the Furniture Sector: Overview of Current Challenges and Competence Needs’, provides an overview on how the circular economy is currently being implemented within the furniture sector.
By focusing on existing practices, challenges and opportunities at the micro-level, the main objective of this report is to identify the necessary skills and competences needed to support the transformation of furniture companies towards a circular economy.
Project partners identified 25 furniture companies active in the circular economy throughout Europe.
Interviews, held between March and May 2018 in Belgium, Finland, Germany, Spain, France, The Netherlands, Italy and Sweden, yielded insights on the necessary skills and competences needed to develop circular business models relevant for the furniture industry.
Finally, 10 examples of circular furniture cases are presented in the report. Examples show companies from different EU countries that have implemented different actions to work towards the circularity of the company, as well as specific examples of furniture products that are sustainable.
Market study on date marking and other information provided on food labels and food waste prevention
Market study on date marking and other information provided on food labels and food waste prevention
As part of the Circular Economy Action Plan, the Commission is examining ways to improve the use of date marking by actors in the food chain and its understanding by consumers, in particular "best before" labelling. Better understanding and use of date marking on food, i.e. "use by" and "best before" dates, by all actors concerned, can prevent and reduce food waste in the EU.
In order to help inform its work on date marking, the Commission launched a study to map how date marking is used in the market by food business operators and control authorities.
The market study found wide variation in date marking practices within product categories surveyed in the EU. The legibility of date marks was judged to be poor for 11% of products sampled. The study highlights the role that strengthened cooperation and innovation in the food supply chain can play in preventing food waste and finds that additional guidance may be needed to facilitate food redistribution past the "best before" date.
Based on the study's findings, the authors conclude that avoidable food waste linked to date marking is likely to be reduced where:
- a date mark is present, its meaning is clear and it is legible;
- consumers have a good understanding of the meaning of date marking (and the difference between "use by" as an indicator of safety and "best before" as an indicator of quality);
- "use by" dates are used only where there is a safety-based rationale for doing so, consistent with the Regulation on Food Information to Consumers
- the product life stated on the packaging is consistent with the findings of safety and quality tests, and is not shortened unnecessarily by other considerations, such as product marketing;
- storage and open life guidance are consistent with the findings of safety and quality tests;
- there is a level of consistency in storage of food at retail and guidance for consumers regarding the temperatures at which products should be stored in the home.
As part of the Circular Economy Action Plan, the Commission has adopted EU food donation guidelines in order to facilitate the recovery and redistribution of safe, edible food to those in need.
Developed in consultation with the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste, the EU food donation guidelines seek to:
- facilitate compliance of providers and recipients of surplus food with relevant requirements laid down in the EU regulatory framework (e.g. food safety, food hygiene, traceability, liability, VAT, etc.);
- promote common interpretation by regulatory authorities in the EU Member States of EU rules applying to the redistribution of surplus food.
The stakeholder panel discussed the issue of integrating consumer insights in the circular economy: needs, benefits and best practices.
The second meeting of the ECESP Coordination Group was held on 18 and 19 October 2018 in Brussels to discuss the platform's activities, define objectives for the coming year and reflect on its overall implementation.
Electric vehicles are a key technology to decarbonise the road transport sector and their use is expected to increase, thereby increasing demand for lithium-ion batteries. This makes developing a full value chain for batteries in Europe a priority, particularly the recycling of lithium-ion batteries where Europe is at an advantage as a market leader.
What will happen to this huge number of batteries at their end-of-life and how the valuable materials within each battery can be recovered and recycled are important questions for EU policymakers, as is information on the impacts of developing a lithium-ion battery recycling industry within the EU.
As part of the wider CIRCULAR IMPACTS project, which looks at the economic, employment and societal impacts of shifting towards a circular economy, this case study examines the impacts of managing electric-vehicle lithium-ion batteries reaching their end-of-life in the years to come. It concludes that increasing the collection and recycling efficiency rates of electric vehicle batteries in the EU can mitigate dependence on imported materials and help to retain the value of recovered materials in the EU economy. Further potential benefits include job creation in the lithium-ion recycling sector, while recycling certain materials, as opposed to extracting the raw material, may mitigate CO2 emissions.
Despite resource efficiency improving 41% between 2000 and 2016,with the Circular Economy Package and the initiatives set out in the accompanying Action Plan nearing completion, the EU institutions must acknowledge that the move to a more resource efficient or “circular” economy will take time. To invest in new business models, more resource-efficient processes and new supply chains for good quality secondary materials, businesses need the assurance that the resource efficiency agenda will remain a priority for the EU in the long term.
This briefing sets out a range of policy recommendations that the Aldersgate Group believe EU institutions should continue to pursue beyond completion of the Circular Economy Package to scale up business action on resource efficiency. These recommendations are based on business case studies, including some developed as part of the EU LIFE+ funded REBus project, which began in 2013 and on which the Aldersgate Group is a partner. By the end of 2016, pilots taking part in the REBus project (many of which involved SMEs), had already delivered a financial benefit of €5.62m, material savings in excess of 62,000 tonnes and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of just under 2,000 tonnes. These benefits have continued to grow since.
Recommendations based on the report's findings include:
- Pursuing work to include resource efficiency design criteria in product standards by delivering on the commitment to publish an updated Ecodesign Working Plan once a year and rapidly broadening the range of products subject to resource efficiency design criteria;
- Promote business innovation on resource efficiency, through continued financial support for business trials and broadening the sectors that receive technical support through the Commission’s Innovation Deals;
- Expand the use of circular economy criteria in the public procurement of a broadening range of products and encourage their application across EU Member States and EU institutions;
- Encourage Member States to develop pricing mechanisms that support material re-use where it is environmentally effective to do so; and
- Ensure a consistent implementation of the Circular Economy Package in different Member States. This is especially important in terms of the improved definitions of “waste” currently being negotiated by all three EU institutions, which must ensure that materials are no longer classified as “waste” when they can be re-used safely.
This report, commissioned by DG GROW and prepard by Technopolis and Franhofer ISI, identified major obstacles of regulatory nature or gaps within the existing legal framework where significant unlocked opportunities remain. The study includes an in-depth analysis of the identified obstacles and possible solutions through specific cases.
The analysis of specific regulatory barriers includes the full product lifecycle and focuses on the interfaces between different steps of the value chain (extraction/production, production/production internal loops, production/use, collection, waste-management/recycling/production). Barriers can be categorised within these 3 themes:
- Several case studies identified regulatory barriers often related to lacking legislation that would allow the collection and pre-treatment of homogenous waste streams.
- The second type of barrier refers to legislation that hinders the use of recycled materials in production processes.
- The third type of barrier is related to the lack of concrete and enforceable product requirements.
The analysis also highlights a variety of different generic types of barriers: in many cases waste legislation focuses on quantities (weight based collection or recycling targets) and not so much on the qualities of recycled materials. Inconsistencies between existing regulations, e.g. related to REACH or End-of-Waste criteria, have also been mentioned in a variety of case studies.
The study concludes that in general, high-quality recycling is definitely not prevented by regulatory obstacles, but by lacking or unclear legislation. Prime examples are End-of-Waste criteria or quality standards for secondary raw materials that create legal uncertainties for the industry that make it rational to continue to focus on primary raw material input.
'The circular economy and the bioeconomy — Partners in sustainability' is the third EEA report on the circular economy. It aims to support the framing, implementation and evaluation of European circular economy policy from an environmental perspective. It shows that the two policy agendas have similar objectives and areas of intervention, including food waste, biomass and bio-based products, and that they would benefit from stronger links, particularly in product and infrastructure design, and collaboration throughout the value chain.
The increasing demand for food, feed, biomaterials and bioenergy resources could worsen the over-exploitation of natural resources. By extending the lifetime of products and recycling materials, a circular, bio-economy approach can help retain material value and functionality for longer time as well as avoid unrecycled biowaste.
Promising innovations and strategies for circular biomass use include biorefinery, 3D printing with bioplastics, multi-purpose crops, better use of residues and food waste, and biowaste treatment. Consumers can also contribute by eating less animal-based protein, preventing food waste and separating biowaste from other waste streams.
Implementing the circular and bio-economy in tandem, by applying specific design principles within a systemic approach, would improve resource efficiency and reduce environmental pressures.
The emerging bioeconomy is moving from a research niche to market norm and Europe needs to maintain its current global leadership. The update of the EU Bioeconomy Strategy is a major European Commission wide policy initiative which will be presented and discussed during the Bioeconomy Conference on October 22, in Brussels.
This EEB and Eunomia report estimates the material consumption and CO2 emissions of the furniture sector at EU level and suggests some circular scenarios and policy options to grasp improvement opportunities.
Around a quarter of the world’s furniture is manufactured within the European Union – representing a €84 billion market that equates to an EU28 consumption of ~10.5 million tonnes of furniture per annum while employing approximately 1 million European workers and consisting of, predominantly, SMEs.
Businesses and consumers discard 10 million tonnes of furniture in EU Member States each year, the majority of which is destined for either landfill or incineration. There is minimal activity in higher-value circular resource flows, with remanufacturing accounting for less than 2% of the EU manufacturing turnover. In terms of furniture in particular, whilst reuse is common this tends to be on a small scale and with local social goals in mind.
Barriers to a circular furniture sector range from low quality materials, limited logistical infrastructure, poor demand for recycled materials to a wider range identified through the course of this research, informed through stakeholder consultation and literature review.
A move towards circular economy models within the European furniture sector would benefit from a variety of complimentary policy instruments to deal with market failures on the supply side (i.e. ensuring return of items and creating durable, refurbished and remanufactured items) and the demand side (creating demand for these products). The report concludes by estimating the impacts on additional tonnes reused & recycled, net carbon reduction and job creation these policy options might have separately.
Various policy instruments thus have the potential to help overcoming the main barriers, with a need to address both supply side and demand side issues to provide both the market push and pull required. The logic suggests that a mandatory but simple Extended Producer Responsibility system, with gradually increasing targets for ‘preparing for reuse’ and separate recycling targets, would provide the most certainty in terms of positive outcomes.
Klättermusen is a Swedish outdoor clothing company producing waterproof jackets, pants and backpacks made at least partly from recycled polyamide. The polyamide is created from post-industrial waste including packaging materials from factories, old carpets as well as discarded industrial fishing nets.