This transversal White Paper by the Interreg MED's Green Growth community displays the horizontal approach towards cooperation on Circular Economy and Green Growth in the Mediterranean as well as challenges, success factors and lessons learned.
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Upcycling Scandinavia designs practical objects entirely made out of upcycled plastic. Its products are reusable and can be included into the remanufacturing of new products.
Het Hof van Cartesius is a non-governmental, bottom-up cooperative that provides circular and green workspaces for sustainable and creative entrepreneurs. The buildings are constructed completely with respect for circular design, using only secondary or biobased materials.
RecyCâbles is a joint venture between Suez and Nexans started in 2008 that collects, recovers and processes used cables. The recycling and re-use of cable materials keeps them in the economic loop.
A solvent-free adhesive that is suitable for recycling and also for bonding of recycled plastic films has been developed by Henkel to be used for multilayer packaging.
Saperatec is able to reclaim all individual raw materials from composite materials, thus making them available for recycling.
Lowlander is a beer brewery from the Netherlands that is passionate about brewing botanical beer. For the Tree to Table initiative, Lowlander has created a tasty, white IPA beer out of hand-picked needles from Christmas trees.
PC4Change is a project of the Reware Cooperative - Social Enterprise, specialized since 2013 in the refurbishing of computers dismissed by large companies.
The WaysTUP! project wishes to demonstrate the establishment of new value chains for urban bio-waste used in the production of high value purpose products, through a multi-stakeholder approach according to circular economy principles.
The Donar company was established in 1989 in Slovenia, as demand for office interior development was growing. Starting as a small business, Donar has developed into one of the key players in design furniture with the highest environmental standards.
'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.
Over the last decade, the concept of the circular economy has regained attention, especially related to efforts to achieve a more sustainable society. The ‘revival’ of the circular economy has been accompanied by controversy and confusion across different actors in science and practice. With this article the authors attempt at contributing to advanced clarity in the field and providing a heuristic that is useful in practice. Initially, they take a focus on the historical development of the concept of circular economy and value retention options for products and materials aiming for increased circularity.
The authors propose to distinguish three phases in the evolution of the circular economy and argue that the concept – in its dominant framing – is not as new as frequently claimed. Having established this background knowledge, they give insights into ‘how far we are’ globally, with respect to the implementation of circularity, arguing that high levels of circularity have already been reached in different parts of the globe with regard to longer loop value retention options, such as energy recovery and recycling. Subsequently, the authors show that the confusion surrounding the circular economy is more far reaching. They summarize the divergent perspectives on retention options and unite the most common views using a 10R typology.
From their analyses, the authors conclude that policymakers and businesses should focus their efforts on realization of the more desirable, shorter loop retention options, like remanufacturing, refurbishing and repurposing – yet with a view on feasibility and overall system effects. Scholars, on the other hand, should assist the parties contributing to an increased circular economy in practice by taking up a more active role in attaining consensus in conceptualizing the circular economy.
The EU Circular Talks is a new exchange concept of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform. It aims to encourage stakeholders to interact and discuss the circular economy topics on the Platform. The workshop aims to debate the role of the circular economy for the retail and wholesale sectors, particularly in the context of their recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
"Research & Innovation in circular economy and bio-based systems: opportunities for circular economy stakeholders" is a side event organised by the European Commission's DG Research and Innovation. It will provide circular economy stakeholders with practical insight into current and future funding opportunities.
On 20 October 2020 at 13:15 – 17:30 (CET), the Competence Centre for Sustainable Procurement and the European Commission are organising the first online networking seminar for European Governmental Competence Centres for Sustainable Public Procurement and other governmental actors active in this field.
Want to discover the latest on industrial symbiosis and the future of sustainable industrial practices? Join this event on 27 October to learn about experiences and case studies regarding successful implementation of industrial symbiosis, find out about tools and gain access to guidelines to kick-start resource efficiency in your own industry.
The Global Sustainable Technology and Innovation Community (G-STIC) plays a crucial role in strengthening interactions between the digital and circular community, and the online G-STIC Conference on 26-28 October is the place to join the discussion on how to spur all players and make digitalisation the decisive instrument for accelerating circular economy.
The 2020 edition of EU Green Week 2020, focussing on nature and biodiversity, is taking place from 19 to 22 October 2020 in an entirely virtual format. Join exciting virtual discussions on how protecting and restoring nature can stimulate recovery and create jobs, helping us to build more resilient and healthier societies.
Consumer buy-in is key to unlocking the potential of circular approaches. How can we encourage consumers to engage in the circular economy? Drawing on the results of CIRC4Life, the webinar on "How to encourage consumer engagement in the circular economy?" on 20 October 2020 will present examples of circular business models and discuss how to engage consumers in circular practices.
Drawing on the results of CIRC4Life, which implements circular economy business models in value chains, the webinar on "Incentivising new circular economy business models" on 14 October will present examples of circular business models and discuss barriers, enablers and the new Circular Economy Action Plan's role in accelerating towards a circular transition.
The EU Circular Talks is a new exchange concept of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform. It aims to encourage stakeholders to interact and discuss the circular economy topics in the platform.
The workshop aims to provide a platform to share good practice, experience and lessons learnt in the use of packaging in the circular economy.
Are you a programme owner or a policy maker keen to advance the transition to a circular economy? Join CICERONE in building a circular economy joint programming platform to enable more cooperation!
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.
How do we assess projects' circularity? We need your opinion! Questionnaire on the assessment criteria launched by SCREEN Policy Lab.
Less than a tenth of the billions of tonnes of resources pumped into the global economy every year are reused, and this waste incurs a huge economic, environmental, and social cost.
Time to radically rethink fashion.
The future of our environment may seem bleak, but a growing movement believe a circular economy is the future.
The 2nd annual conference of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform will take place on 20 and 21 February 2018.