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Circular action for climate neutrality

Circular Economy Action Plan - Speeding up the green transition of the EU’s economy

Circular economy offers a path to sustainable recovery

The post-COVID-19 recovery plan should be extensive, as the effects of the pandemic on people and economy have, in many cases, been devastating. The recovery plan must also fully support the green transition to guarantee resilience over the long term.

The circular economy has the potential to raise EU GDP by billions of euros, and create around 700,000 extra jobs by 2030. With this in mind, the economic approach should be an integral part of that recovery. It is one of the messages of a new EUROCITIES policy statement on the EU Circular Economy Action Plan that sets out how cities, as significant engines for economic growth, can drive the circular economy to unlock economic, environmental and social benefits.

Innovative plastic materials, natural additives and novel irrigation technologies will improve the performance of Mediterranean greenhouses

Azmud

The AZMUD Project proposes innovations which will help reduce the consumption of water, energy, nutrients and pesticides, and promote the use of waste water in greenhouse cultivations.

Veolia and JDE - turning spent coffee grounds into bio-fuel

Type of organisation or company:

Country: 
Netherlands

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Veolia Group designs and provides optimised water, waste and energy management solutions

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In Joure (NL) the Jacobs Douwe Egberts plant uses spent coffee grounds as a bio-fuel to produce the steam needed for its production process.

Cutting greenhouse gas emissions through circular economy actions in the buildings sector

Briefing

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Author: 
European Environment Agency
Publication Date: 
07/2020
Country: 
EU

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The briefing highlights the key findings of the background report "The Decarbonisation Benefits of Sectoral Circular Economy Actions", produced for the European Environment Agency by Ramboll, Ecologic Institute and Fraunhofer ISI.

The key messages are the following:

  • Greater circularity and more efficient use of materials present new opportunities for further reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • A new methodology can help to identify which circular economy actions in each sector can make the most promising contributions to meeting targets to reduce emissions and to achieving climate neutrality in Europe.
  • In the buildings sector, selected circular economy actions can lead to reductions of up to 61 % in the materials-related greenhouse gases emitted across buildings’ life cycles.

Enhancing a resource-efficient, circular economy in the food and drink industry

FoodDrinkEurope - an organisation representing Europe's food and drinks industry - has designed a website explaining what the industry is currently doing to enhance a resource-efficient circular economy.

Entitled Ingredients for a Circular Economy, the website specifically looks at the areas of farming, manufacturing, sustainable packaging and consumers, providing numerous examples of how the European food and drinks industry is helping to promote circular economy. The website also sets out policy recommendations for how to unlock further sustainable growth and innovation for a resource-efficient circular economy in the food and drinks industry. 

Enrich: compost - circular economy in action

Enrich manufactures organic compost in an open windrow system using source segregated green waste such as garden clippings and landscaping materials.

Measuring Scotland’s progress towards a circular economy to help combat the climate emergency

Measuring Scotland's progress towards a circular economy

zerowastescotland

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Author: 
Zero Waste Scotland
Publication Date: 
06/2020
Country: 
United Kingdom

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Contact: 
Jack Barrie

Zero Waste Scotland has commissioned a study on Measuring Scotland's progress towards a circular economy, in order to assess the value of existing metrics and identify the most effective ways to drive and track progress on reducing our carbon emissions.

The study has concluded that no single metric could be used to monitor Scotland’s progress on adopting a circular economy. However, a range of metrics could be developed and used collectively.

Two datasets in particular (a Scottish material flows accounts and Scotland’s carbon footprint) will be key to this as the country progresses towards a circular economy

The Alliance for Flame Retardant Free Furniture position paper - Unwanted toxic flame retardants preventing circularity and increasing fire toxicity

The Alliance for Flame Retardant Free Furniture states its position: Unwanted toxic flame retardants prevent circularity and increase fire toxicity

Alliance for Flame Retardant Free Furniture
Author: 
The Alliance for Flame Retardant Free Furniture
Publication Date: 
04/2020
Country: 
Belgium

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Contact: 
Gabriella Kemendi
Giorgia Murgia

The Alliance for Flame Retardant Free Furniture welcomes the new Circular Economy Action Plan and calls on EU institutions to address the unnecessary use of chemicals preventing circularity and the achievement of climate goals, such as toxic flame retardants in furniture, which endanger people’s and firefighters’ health as they migrate out of products and can lead to increased fire toxicity.

The use of such retardants is a historical, hazardous and ineffective practice which is not proven to reduce the number of fires. It is at odds with circularity objectives and their presence in furniture runs counter to the ambition to introduce and increase circularity.

Ensuring fire safety is a must, but it needs to be done in ways that are not hazardous.

Plan d'action Economie circulaire européen - Analyse et recommandations

INEC's analysis of the new European Circular Economy Action Plan

In March 2020, the European Commission published the new Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP). Following of this publication, the French Institut National de l'Economie Circulaire (INEC) has published an analysis of the new action plan, followed by some recommendations:

  1. promote the inter-sectoral dimension of circular economy (CE);
  2. speed up the integration of the CE dimension into public procurement;
  3. introduce a coherent circular-oriented tax system;
  4. transition towards a non-financial accounting system;
  5. teach people to be circular;
  6. start a discussion on "equitable" needs;
  7. blockchain, territories and behavioural change.

To read the full report (in FR) click here.

 

Impacts and Insights: Circular IT Management in Practice

Impacts and Insights: Circular IT Management in Practice

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Author: 
TCO Development
Publication Date: 
06/2020
Country: 
Sweden

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Contact: 
Cassandra Julin

The report from TCO Development, the organization behind the global sustainability certification for IT products TCO Certified, explains how everyone who buys/uses IT products can implement circular practices. It sets out how circular economy (CE) helps solve many pressing sustainability challenges linked to IT products and contains 33 expert tips on circular IT management.

Key findings:

  1. Use IT products longer.
  2. Circularity helps maximize the value of IT investment.
  3. Market demand is key to accelerating the pace of change. 
  4. Circularity includes IT management throughout the life cycle. 
  5. Improved supply chain responsibility can speed up transition to CE. 
  6. Circularity is a team effort.
  7. Many circular solutions are already in place - just use them.

EUMEPS op-ed on the ‘Renovation Wave’

EUMEPS op-ed: Thermal insulation improvements in the EU building Renovation Wave also promote the Circular Economy

Author: 
Association for European Manufacturers of Expanded Polystyrene (EUMEPS)
Publication Date: 
06/2020
Country: 
Belgium

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Contact: 
Flavia Ferri

The European Manufacturers of Expanded Polystyrene (EUMEPS) is the voice of the Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) industry. It has published an op-ed welcoming the European Commission’s commitment to a Renovation Wave and the outline of its strategy shared in the roadmap published in May 2020. It believes that this initiative is a great opportunity for scaling-up current renovation rates and EU’s climate and energy efficiency goals.

EUMEPS agrees that increased renovation can be a key contributor to creating jobs and stimulating economic recovery in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It embraces the Commission’s finding that buildings are also critical for making circularity work and its objective to implement the Renovation Wave in line with circular economy principles.

SUMMARY/PRESENTATION OF THE CIRCULAR ARAGON STRATEGY

Aragon Circular Strategy

Estrategia Aragón Circular

Aragón Circular is an economic strategy that aims to boost the circular economy in the entire region of Aragon. Its objective is to create a political, economic, and social framework that will allow Aragon to move towards an innovative circular economy. Furthermore, this strategy will generate high-quality employment and provide the backbone for the territory.

Ecopreneur.eu: Circular fashion and textile producing countries

Ecopreneur cotton

Textiles and clothing play an important role in our everyday life. But the global fashion industry model is unsustainable. It uses large amounts of resources and has negative impacts on the environment and people. The global fashion industry, therefore, has to make a transition towards a circular model. In a ‘circular’ fashion economy, clothes, textiles, and fibres are kept at their highest value during use and re-enter the economy to avoid becoming waste.

This research note produced by Ecopreneur.eu is a first inventory of the potential impacts of future EU circular fashion on non-European textile producing countries. It uses existing literature and input from four circular economy experts to analyse the economic, social and environmental impacts. 

España Circular 2030: the new Circular Economy Strategy for a #FuturoSostenible in Spain

Espana circular

At the beginning of June 2020 the Spanish Government published España Circular 2030, the new Strategy for Circular Economy in Spain until 2030. It contains circular economy objectives and a series of strategic orientations for the period 2020-2030. 

The strategy:

  • sets up a series of objectives for 2020-2030 which will, inter alia, allow a 30% reduction in the national consumption of resources and a 15% reduction in waste generation (as compared to 2010);
  • contributes to Spain's efforts to transition to a sustainable, decarbonized, resource-efficient and competitive economy;
  • takes the form of successive three-year action plans providing for concrete measures to deliver on circular economy.

 

    Civil Society European Strategy for Sustainable Textile, Garments, Leather and Footwear

    Civil Society European Strategy for Sustainable Textile, Garments, Leather and Footwear

    Author: 
    Fair and Sustainable Textiles - Civil Society Coalition
    Publication Date: 
    04/2020
    Country: 
    Belgium

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    Contact: 
    Emily Macintosh

    A broad coalition of social and environmental NGOs has developed a Civil Society European Strategy for Sustainable Textiles, Garments, Leather and Footwear, looking at the social, environmental and governance implications of the textile sector in one forward-looking document ahead of the comprehensive EU Strategy for Textiles, expected in 2021.

    The document aims to contribute to the upcoming comprehensive EU Strategy for Textiles, by providing recommendations on what such a Strategy should encompass in order to maintain a high level of ambition. It includes forward-looking proposals on due diligence, product policy framework, waste, unfair trading practices, international trade, support to producing countries, alternative business models and a multi-stakeholder platform.

    The Covid-19 recovery requires a resilient circular economy

    The Covid-19 recovery requires a resilient circular economy

    The coronavirus crisis has disastrous human and economic consequences, revealing our system's exposure to a variety of risks. As the pandemic forces us to adapt our daily lives in ways we would not have imagined, it is also challenging us to rethink the systems that underpin the economy.

    While addressing public health consequences is clearly the priority, before the crisis, momentum had already been increasing around the need for a system reset, and the potential of a circular model.

    Far from the pandemic pushing the circular economy agenda to the bottom of the list, this article by Jocelyn Blériot at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation highlights and reiterates that it is now more relevant than ever, and sets out to explore the wider possibilities for recovery.

    Circular Aluminium Action Plan: A Strategy for Achieving Aluminium's Full Potential for Circular Economy by 2030

    The Circular Aluminium Action Plan is the aluminium sector’s strategy for achieving aluminium’s full potential for a circular economy by 2030. The action plan aims to ensure that all end-of-life aluminium products are collected and recycled efficiently in Europe to maximise the aluminium recycling rates and to keep the material in active use. It builds on the aluminium industry’s Vision 2050 and provides policy recommendations for the sector.

    The aluminium industry has the potential to be a key driver in achieving Europe’s ambitions for a climate-neutral and circular economy. Aluminium is by nature circular and fit for multiple recycling: it can be recycled over and over again without losing its original properties (lightness, conductivity, formability, durability, impermeability).

    C123 explores innovative processes to transform unexploited methane into propylene

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    Country: 
    Other (Norway)

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    Expertise in technology, medicine and the social sciences

    C123 is an EU-funded project aiming at transforming the largely available and unexploited methane resources into C3 hydrocarbons, particularly propylene.

    INEC publishes a study on identifying major circular economy networks in Europe

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    Author: 
    Institut National de l'Economie Circulaire, Orée
    Publication Date: 
    04/2020
    Country: 
    France

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    Circular economy (CE) appears everywhere in Europe to be an adequate response to the challenges of resource scarcity. Driven by the development of the European CE Package, many initiatives to accelerate the transition are emerging, both on governmental and private levels, but they lack coordination.

    In the wake of the new Circular Economy Action Plan published by the European Commission in March, the "Institut National de l'Economie Circulaire" (INEC) - member of the ECESP Coordination Group -  and Orée have co-authored a study identifying the major CE networks in Europe in order to strengthen the cooperation needed to achieve CE ambitions. By so doing they have pursued their common aim to develop and disseminate a vision of an inclusive and unifying CE.

    Read the full study.

    Leuven Circulair - a detailed programme for circularity, in the context of Leuven 2030 Roadmap

    The city of Leuven, in Flanders, aims to play a leading role in initiating systemic change in cities and society at large.

    The Roadmap 2025 · 2035 · 2050, drawn up by Leuven 2030 and numerous experts, serves as a guide to achieving the goal of a climate-neutral city by 2050. In September 2019 a professional team of programme managers started on no less than 13 specific programmes, which will transform this unique plan into concrete actions and impact on the field.

    Leuven Circulair finds its place in specific programme #09, outlining key actions for circularity in the city with a strong focus on social, repair, refurbishment, knowledge and expertise from the University of Leuven and local fablabs.

    Promoting product longevity

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    Author: 
    J. Scott MARCUS, Bruegel, Georg ZACHMANN, Bruegel, Stephen GARDNER, Bruegel, Simone TAGLIAPIETRA, Bruegel, Elissavet LYKOGIANNI, VVA
    Publication Date: 
    03/2020
    Country: 
    EU

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    Contact: 
    Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies

    How can the EU product safety and compliance framework help promote product durability and tackle planned obsolescence, foster the production of more sustainable products, and achieve more transparent supply chains for consumers?

    Product longevity can play a useful role in achieving the Paris Agreement goals – material efficiency is an important contributor to energy efficiency and is also important in its own right. The product safety and compliance instruments available at European level can contribute to these efforts, if wisely applied.

    This study was commissioned by the European Parliament Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO).

    Circular Fashion MOOC: Design, Science and Value in a Sustainable Clothing Industry

    Wageningen MOOC

    The fashion industry has a big influence on the global economy and is known for its social and environmental impact. This online course by Wageningen University & Research is an introduction to circular fashion, brought by 30 experts from academia and practice.

    After this course, you will be able to:

    • Understand the role of sustainability and circularity in fashion
    • Understand the importance of design for disassembly and recycling
    • Evaluate new biobased materials for textiles and understand the change in production processes
    • Disrupt current thinking and mindset in the industry and manage the transition to circular fashion
    • Understand economic paradigms and new forms of value creation for circularity in the fashion industry

    Read more and enrol.

    Promoting a Just Transition to an Inclusive Circular Economy

    Chatham House report: Promoting a Just Transition to an Inclusive Circular Economy

    Just Transition

    Today, only 8.6% of the resources and materials in the global economy are reused or recycled.
    A crucial transition to a circular economy is required to reach the environmental goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to achieve countries’ climate targets as set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

    In this context, it is essential to ensure that the transition to a resource-efficient and circular economic model also delivers on social objectives.

    This paper introduces the relevance of the circular economy in the international development SDG context. It also explores how a just transition approach can be successfully applied in the circular economy context.

    Global Circular Economy Scenario in a Multiregional Input–Output Framework

    A Global Circular Economy Scenario?

    Author: 
    Kirsten S. Wiebe, Marek Harsdorff, Guillermo Montt, Moana S. Simas, Richard Wood
    Publication Date: 
    05/2019
    Country: 
    Other (Norway)

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    Scope:

    Contact: 
    Kirsten S. Wiebe

    In a resource-constrained world the future economy will need to be circular.

    From a policy perspective, the question is whether averting catastrophic environmental impacts through an accelerated transition to a global circular economy can also deliver sustained growth and jobs.

    Multiregional input−output (MRIO) analysis models the interdependencies between industries and within/between countries as well as between intermediate and final goods producers and consumers, thus providing a useful toolbox for assessing social, environmental, and economy-wide impacts of the adoption of the circular economy.

    This research paper resorts to this toolbox to compare the business-as-usual (BAU) scenario to an alternative circular economy scenario.

    From digging to building: construction site excavations make perfect, low-emission new bricks

    Circular building earth building Compressed earth blocks

    At its production site in Brussels, BC materials blends and transforms ordinary earth streams - what some consider to be waste - into perfectly circular building materials.

    EASAC Report - Packaging plastics in the circular economy

    Packaging plastics

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    Author: 
    Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina
    Publication Date: 
    03/2020
    Country: 
    EU

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    Contact: 
    EASAC

    Packaging plastics can offer an almost infinite range of options for manufacturers, both in terms of function and design. Their durability and resistance to degradation means that if they ‘leak’ into the environment, they stay there. Leakage has been increasing rapidly and its detrimental impact, especially on the marine environment, has attracted wide public and political concern.

    EASAC established in 2018 an Expert Group to look at scientific aspects of plastics packaging and the circular economy. This report is the result of an 18-month investigation and reviews the negative consequences of the current linear economy for plastic packaging, the scope for improvement towards a more circular pattern and options for increasing recycling rates and reducing leakage into the environment.

    Life Reforest: mycotechnosoils developed from waste, could bring burnt forest areas back to life

    LIFE REFOREST is a project funded by the LIFE Programme that aims to mitigate the soil loss associated with post-fire episodes in forest areas.

    Circular South, Antwerp: community-driven sustainable area, with the help of smart technologies

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    Belgium

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    In 2018, the City of Antwerp kick-started the Circular South project. The aim is to encourage more efficient use of energy, water, waste and materials by the citizens of the New South district of Antwerp through an innovative community-driven approach.

    Overview Circular Flanders: a 2017-2019 retrospective

    Circular Flanders

    This retrospective report is a review of the plans set out by Circular Flanders in the Kick-off Statement.

    The most important finding? A good deal more was accomplished than initially anticipated. For example, the opportunity to launch three Open Calls, permitting the funding of over 130 innovative circular economy projects. The Green Deal on Circular Construction was also an unprecedented opportunity, as was the complementary reinforcement of the OVAM team of experts in ecodesign and area-specific operations, allowing the scope to expand.

    This retrospective report is an interactive PDF. External links to downloads or online resources have been embedded on each project page for easy accessibility.

    Metal Recycling Factsheet by EuRIC

    EuRIC Metal Recycling Factsheet

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    Author: 
    EuRIC aisbl
    Publication Date: 
    02/2020
    Country: 
    Belgium, EU

    Language for original content:

    Contact: 
    Emmanuel Katrakis
    Elisabet Andres Garcia
    Louis Ollion

    This factsheet on Metal Recycling developed by EuRIC highlights the importance of both ferrous and non-ferrous metal recycling and their substantial benefits for the environment and the economy in Europe. The Brochure outlines the environmental benefits, the economic and international trade aspects of steel, aluminium and copper recycling.

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