Ascendency analysis is a systematic method grounded on information theory which has been developed by ecosystem ecologists for assessing the sustainability of natural ecosystems. Here, we apply ascendency analysis to quantify the robustness of material and energy flow networks of the EU27. In line with other authors, we argue that ecological principles can be useful for developing robust circular human-made systems. Robustness against shocks is endowed by including a diverse set of stakeholders who provide a) resource-use efficiency through a cache of specialized know-how in capturing and processing a plurality of resources, and b) resilience by generating multiple paths that allow these vital resources to circulate throughout the urban network at different scales and rates.
In 2020 the EU’s circular material use rate reached 12,8 %, i.e. almost 13 % of material resources used in the EU came from recycled waste materials, according to Eurostat.
The circularity rate - which is part of the EU monitoring framework on the circular economy - is the share of material resources used coming from recycled waste materials, thus saving extractions of primary raw materials.
The EROS Project, with the participation of AIMPLAS and ITC, is working to develop new recycling processes to recover composite materials from the aeronautics and wind turbine sectors to manufacture new products for the transport and ceramics industries.
The circular economy is a key element of the European Green Deal as a concept that can support the transition towards a more sustainable growth model. In recent years there has been a growth of circular economy industrial applications, but evidence suggests that the uptake of circular approaches in many sectors is still limited.