The main goal of the European SPARTA project, coordinated by AIMPLAS with the participation of TEKNIKER, is to find a new method of recycling and reprocessing composite thermoplastic materials that reduces both the amount of waste generated by the aerospace industry and its environmental impact. Another goal is to design more eco-efficient manufacturing methods.
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Ms. Bay is a handbag brand that creates products made of rescued waste material and following fair-trade manufacturing ethics. The main material in their collection is salmon-leather. This has qualities similar to regular leather but is processed in a more environmental-friendly way and is highly durable.
VICAT produces materials for the construction sector (cement, concrete, aggregates) and believes that the act of building should no longer be disconnected from deconstruction. VICAT has therefore rethought its production systems to include circular economy loops focused on the recovery of local construction & demolition waste.
Calefa is a Finnish company specialized in the reuse of residual heat from industry by redirecting the excess heat from industrial processes either to the customer company’s own use or to the district heating network, instead of wasting it as condensed water or air.
Svenska Retursystem contributes to the circular economy through a reusable transit packaging system. It offers an alternative to the single use transit packaging, such as wooden pallets or cardboard boxes, that often contributes to global waste.
Coolrec has launched a project with two Dutch household goods chains: Blokker and Marskramer. During Tefal Swap Weeks, they offer customers a 20% discount on new Tefal frying pans when they return old ones.
Coolrec makes skating medals from discarded mobile phones in cooperation with KPN and the Royal Dutch Skating Association
Coolrec, KPN and the Royal Dutch Skating Association have initiated a partnership to make skating medals from discarded mobile phones.
Versalis produces plastics, rubbers and chemicals from renewable sources, maintaining plastic products and materials in a closed loop. It has developed the Versalis Revive® range of polymer based products containing recycled plastics, in collaboration with leading Italian companies in the recovery and recycling of post-consumer plastic at European level.
Unverpackt in Kiel opened in February of 2014, becoming Germany’s first packaging-free store. Their goal is to reduce packaging and food waste and at the same time motivate customers to reflect on their own consumer behaviour.
Cork-A-Tex is a project that uses recycled cork to create a yarn with high incorporation of cork. Cork is a 100% natural material made from the oak cork trees which can be recycled after its use as cork stopper in wine bottles.
The Relooping Fashion Initiative (2015-2017) was aimed at piloting and modelling the circular business ecosystem for textiles. This report covers the business ecosystem modelling work and introduces the project team’s crystallized vision of a higher-level system that enables the textiles industry to operate according to the basic principles of a circular economy.
The focus of the report is on explaining the principles of a circular economy in the context of textiles, and drawing a picture of the key material flows and types of actors along the value cycles from end-user back to end-user. The overall goal is to maintain the value of materials as high as possible, with minimum environmental impact. The different circular business models for textiles are introduced along the value cycles. The report covers 1) repair and maintenance, 2) re-use as product, 3) re-use as material, and 4) recycling-related activities, and business models for post-consumer/user textiles along the entire value chain.
All these processes need to work seamlessly together for the circular business ecosystem to function effectively. New recycling technologies are crucial to solving the global textile waste problem, and to be able to replace some of the virgin materials such as cotton with recycled textile materials. The report also discusses the topic of shared value creation in the circular economy context.
'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.
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.
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 and the demand side (creating demand for these products).
The climate conference in Paris has produced a landmark agreement. The emission reduction commitments made by 195 countries are a leap forward, but not yet sufficient to stay on a 2 °C trajectory, let alone a 1.5 °C pathway. Current commitments address only half the gap between business as usual and the 1.5 °C pathway. There is still a reduction of about 15 billion tonnes CO2e needed to reach the 1.5 °C target. Further solutions are therefore needed; solutions that go beyond decarbonising our energy system. This white paper by Ecofys and Circle Economy looks into the contribution a global circular economy could presumably make to bridging the emissions gap.
Since over half of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are associated with producing basic materials, there is a clear role for circular economy strategies in reducing this gap. To do this, the circular economy describes a practical and scalable landscape of opportunities by moving towards business models for an economy that is by design regenerative and as waste free as possible. Strategies at the heart of the circular economy include measures to reduce the input of virgin materials, improve the use of existing assets and reduce the output of waste. Circular economy strategies related to materials are: recovery and reuse, lifetime extension, sharing and service models, circular design and digital platforms.
Circular Economy and Employment first summarizes the main definitions and conceptualisations of a circular economy, then clarifies the relationship to related concepts such as green growth and eco-innovation. This report is the outcome of a project estimating the employment effects of a circular economy.
The Circular Economy mainly focuses on savings on the shares of material, labour, energy, and capital embedded in the product. In finite systems it is intended to “design out waste”. An important difference is made between consumables (one or few time usage) and durables (years of usage) products. Material savings can be achieved by already established recycling and remanufacturing activities finally aiming at a “zero waste economy”. More recently, the contribution of green ICT leading to less material inputs (“digital revolution”, e.g. photos are no longer printed but distributed by e-mail or social media), a general greater importance of services, the evolution of the sharing economy (e. g. car sharing) or a higher utilisation rate for products for the circular economy are discussed.
Detailed concepts of green growth from OECD, UNEP, EEA and the Global Green Growth Institute are also considered. Green growth means fostering economic growth and development while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies. Investment and (eco-) innovation activities shall give rise to new, more sustainable sources of growth and development. Moving towards a circular economy may be understood as a tool to achieve a green economy, a circular economy is one of the main elements helping to achieve the greening of an economy.
Britain faces huge economic challenges in its use of labour and scarce natural resources. Although unemployment is now falling, the risk of being out of work is higher in some regions and for some types of occupations. While Britain has significantly increased its resource efficiency in recent years, supply risks in an increasingly competitive global economy mean that we need to get better at using natural resources. A new research study, undertaken jointly by WRAP and the Green Alliance, shows that these challenges are linked: improving our resource efficiency can make a valuable contribution to improving Britain’s labour market situation.
One route to improving resource efficiency is to develop a circular economy. This involves keeping products and resources in use for as long as possible through recovery, reuse, repair, remanufacturing and recycling. In addition to protecting the environment, this potentially offers substantial economic benefits. These include greater economic stability through increased resource security and new business and employment opportunities from an expanding industrial sector. This study focuses on the second aspect and identifies the scope for the growth of the circular economy to offer new jobs.
The study finds that regions where unemployment is higher, such as the North East and the West Midlands, could see the greatest impact on job creation, especially among low to mid-skilled occupations where job losses are projected for the future.
The study finds that if we stay on the current development path for the circular economy in Britain, then by 2030 the sector could:
- require an extra 205,000 jobs;
- reduce unemployment by around 54,000; and
- offset 11% of future losses in skilled employment.
Alternatively, under a transformational scenario where there was a more extensive expansion of circular economy activities, by 2030 the sector could create over half a million jobs, reduce unemployment by over 100,000 and potentially offset around 18% of the expected future losses in skilled employment.
Aimed at defining, identifying and quantifying employment opportunities that are needed in the circular economy, Circle Economy and the Erasmus Research Institute for Happiness Economics (Ehero) have developed a standardised and replicable methodology that measures circular employment in cities around the world.
Once identified, the circular jobs were categorised according to the seven key elements of the circular economy, showing that a large majority are focused on ‘incorporating digital technology’ and ‘preserving and extending what’s already made’. In the past fifteen years, activities that involve ‘repair & maintenance‘ have remained stable in numbers, with the ‘incorporation of digital technologies’ becoming an up and coming job provider.
The Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, the Netherlands and Deloitte have jointly carried out research on barriers to the Circular Economy (CE) in the European Union. For this research, a survey with 153 businesses, 55 government officials and expert interviews with forty-seven thought leaders on the circular economy from businesses, governments, academia and NGOs have been carried out. Two types of barriers emerged as main barriers.
Firstly, there are the cultural barriers of lacking consumer interest and awareness as well as a hesitant company culture. This finding is at odds with claims that the circular economy concept is hyped; rather, the concept may be a niche discussion among sustainable development professionals.
Secondly, market barriers emerged as a core category of barriers, particularly low virgin material prices and high upfront investments costs for circular business models.
Government intervention might be needed to overcome the market barriers which then may also help to overcome cultural barriers. Cultural barriers do also need to be overcome by circular start-ups. And, even though there is still no circular startup that has made global headlines, this may change soon.
Textiles waste is relatively small in terms of weight as compared to other waste streams, but it has a large impact on human health and environment, and its rate is increasing due to the ‘fast fashion’ model. In this paper, the authors examine the French national programme for managing post-consumer textiles and clothing through a case study research.
France is the only country in the world implementing an extended producer responsibility (EPR) policy for end-of-use clothing, linen and shoes. The case highlights the benefits of using an EPR policy and provides interesting insights about the challenges faced by the textiles waste sector. For instance, the EPR policy has contributed to a threefold increase in the collection and recycling rates of post-consumer textiles since 2006. In addition, the material recovery rate of the post-consumer textiles can reach 90%, 50% of which can be directly reused. However, the ‘reuse’ stream is facing some challenges because its main market is in Africa and many African countries are considering banning the import of used textiles to encourage a competitive textiles industry locally and internationally.
The EPR policy shows a great potential to identify new markets for ‘reuse’ and to improve the textiles waste sector. Such an EPR policy also could drive societies to financially support innovation and research to provide feasible solutions for fashion producers to adopt eco-design and design for recycling practices. This paper provides guidance for policy makers, shareholders, researchers and practitioners interested in diverting post-consumer textiles and clothing waste from landfills and promoting circular textiles transition.
The principle of Circular Economy is to keep raw materials within the economic cycle as long as possible while generating the lowest possible amount of waste and emission. To do so, end-of-life products and materials must be kept at the highest possible level of value creation according to their original use. Adapted logistical concepts to coordinate both material and information flows - in addition to innovative business models and new approaches to product design for recycling - are necessary to realise circularity in the economy.
The megatrend of digitalisation, especially through Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, offers solutions that have not yet been applied extensively. Possible disadvantages of rebound effects due to Circular Economy and increased demand for resources caused by the deployment of digital technologies must also be taken into consideration. Due to its strong integration into the processes of production, there is scope for digitised management of resource and waste logistics to make a substantial contribution to a sustainable economy.
The white paper discusses the various dimension of logistics that support the Circular Economy transition by reflecting upon the following trends: atomisation of shipments, information logistics and data sovereignty, new manufacturing technologies, autonomous systems in Industry 4.0 and Social Networked Industry. Uses cases are developed for each of these trends, whose respective impacts on respectively producers, consumers, recycling businesses and the environment are also analysed.
Further scenario analysis for both a gradual and radical transition to Circular Economy shows the differing impact these trends might have in varying intensity on manufacturing, logistics and recycling. The white paper concludes that logistics is crucial in all levels of the transition to a circular economy, as it forms the core of transporting goods, transferring information in self-organising supply chain networks and developing new business models.
The automobile recycling industry is gathering in Geneva for its 20th annual conference during the Geneva International Motor Show from 11 to 13 March 2020.
Join the 19th International Electronics Recycling Congress IERC2020 in Salzburg from 21 to 24 January 2020 for the electronics recycling industry's leading annual event.
The aim of the workshop is to promote and support the regional ecosystem on raw materials and the efficient use of resources by connecting the stakeholders of the Knowledge Triangle (Enterprise, Research, University) of the Mediterranean area.
Join this COP25 side event on 11 December 2019 in Madrid for panels and brokerage that will provide access to networks for potential businesses or initiatives that the transition to a Circular Economy.
Join the European Academy for Taxes, Economics and Law at this European Conference on Waste Management in the Circular Economy from 27 to 28 February 2020.
AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, will host the seventh edition of its International Seminar on Biopolymers and Sustainable Composites on 4 and 5 March 2020 in Valencia.
The Commission is organising a public conference on food loss and waste prevention in the framework of the 7th meeting of the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste, to help define the EU action agenda and path towards the global target of halving food waste by 2030.
Mistra is convening a discussion in the European Parliament to explore policy solutions for advancing the European circular economy through the European Green Deal. You will hear from researchers, business representatives and policymakers on how to seize this critical opportunity.
The non-governmental organisation, French National Institute for Circular Economy (INEC) is a reference body focused on ecological intelligence and resource economics. Its aim is to bring together all public and private stakeholders to promote the circular economy and accelerate its development.
Wednesday 11 December 2019 at 9.30-15.30 at UCLY, 10, place des archives, 69002 Lyon
The Second Annual Conference by ICESP on 27 and 28 November 2019 will provide and share ideas, methods and knowledge to boost the dialogue between stakeholders in order to identify priorities for a national strategic agenda of the circular economy.
On 20 February 2018 three frontrunning companies commit to partner with Circle Economy, to develop a circular decision-making tool for the fashion and textiles industry.
El Gobierno espagnol tiene lista su primera Estrategia de Economía Circular, que busca mejorar el aprovechamiento de los recursos para reducir el uso de materias primas.
The EU said in last month’s Plastics Strategy that it wants to boost how much plastic is reused and recycled.
TEDx talk by EESC member Cillian Lohan.
REPESCA_PLAS project in the framework of the Fundación Biodiversidad Pleamar programme
First announcement circularity check.
Comment mieux gérer nos déchets ?
World Circular Economy Forum 2018
Waste legislation needs to be underpinned by the Internal Market in order to preserve harmonisation across the EU member states.
The Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) aims to enable greater cooperation among public and private-sector organizations to close the production-consumption loop.