The Plastic Atlas contains more than 49 detailed infographics covering a broad range of topics regarding the plastic pollution crisis looking along the entire value chain of plastic. The atlas highlights the scale of the crisis, and the global impacts of plastic production, consumption and disposal on other key global challenges such as human health and climate change. It also outlines the role of plastic for key industrial sectors such as agriculture and tourism and describes the corporate interests and drivers behind the plastic crisis. Finally, the Plastic Atlas presents an overview of key plastic-free regulations, zero waste solutions and a snapshot of the growing global movement working towards a future free from plastic pollution.
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This research, part of the CEC4Europe factbook on the circular economy published in September 2018, evaluates 131 projects from the Circular Economy Industry Platform (CEIP) regarding their contribution to circular economy from both a scientific and political perspective.
Content analysis was applied to derive qualitative and quantitative information from company statements on the platform. This was supplemented by qualitative, semi-structured interviews with company representatives on selected projects. Results showed a diverse approach to circularity across the sample projects, thereby partly expanding the sectoral focus of the circular economy package.
Eco-design, eco-innovation and business models acted as strong enablers for circular actions in the sample, reflecting respective EU policies.
At the same time, sample projects heavily relied on recycling while missing out on potentially more efficient circular principles such as reduction or reuse.
High diversity in criteria was found regarding the evaluation of overall environmental impacts, with some projects using purely qualitative assessment methods, while other projects presented elaborate quantitative environmental evaluations, including significant positive impact potential. Regulatory challenges were specifically reported regarding the introduction of sound circularity quotas and targets, regarding definitional ambiguities, as well as regarding issues around unknown material compositions that currently impede recirculation.
The concept of circular economy is becoming increasingly important in the textile industry. This study examines options for establishing closed fibre cycles in the clothing and fashion industry. It provides a detailed background analysis on fibre cycles in Europe and Germany, describes the biggest drivers and obstacles and evaluates selected technologies for textile fibre recycling.
The analysis is based on an in-depth literature review, paired with findings from a focus group session conducted as part of the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) International Congress 2018. In addition, more than 20 experts working in the textile sector shared their candid views for the analysis.
The study was commissioned by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
In a circular economy, assets are no longer sold. Rather, the assets are collectively maintained by a network of stakeholders involved in the ongoing functioning of the assets - the circular service (CISE) network. This shifts the responsibility for the functioning of an asset from the end-user to the network, thus stimulating the re-design of business processes to optimize the life-cycle performance of the asset.
A CISE network however requires unprecedented levels of cooperation and coordination between participants, leading to high administrative costs and the need for trust and transparency in the network. CISE networks are a totally different way of doing business, requiring different financial, legal and governance structures. Would it be possible for assets to be owned and procured by a network that creates value from them? Could this, simultaneously, reduce administrative costs? Could cashflows generated by the asset be redistributed to the network, leveraging the sharing of risks and returns?
Circular economy strategies and roadmaps in Europe: Identifying synergies and the potential for cooperation and alliance building – Study
Circular economy strategies and roadmaps in Europe: Identifying synergies and the potential for cooperation and alliance building
Circular economy strategies have been under development in European cities, regions, and countries in the last few years. 33 strategies have been adopted since 2014, and at least 29 more are under development. Existing strategies were reviewed for this study, to identify similarities and differences, and to assess the involvement of civil society organisations, and potential for collaboration.
The study argues that documents developed in the future should put more focus on including broader sections of value chains, and on ensuring inclusive partnership approaches in all phases of the strategy’s cycle. To date, circular economy strategies show different degrees of inclusiveness in terms of value chains and partner involvement. Limited inclusive approaches can be explained by the exploratory nature of most strategy documents. This includes a stronger involvement of civil society organisations in earlier phases of strategy development, and not just for dissemination and citizen involvement.
The study highlights the role of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform in gathering and sharing civil society’s knowledge and making sure it is fed into the policy cycle for circular economy.
Mountain areas face specific natural conditions, such as slope, climate, and soil types, that make the exploitation of mountain resources difficult.
Other challenges associated with connectivity and transport make economic activity all the more challenging.
The adoption of the circular economy will be particularly important in mountain areas which contain exceptional primary resources such as forests, water, and minerals, and provide ecosystems services such as carbon sequestration, clean water, landscapes, and recreation. Maximizing the value of extracted resources and managing them sustainably is particularly important for maintaining a high quality of life in mountain territories.The circular economy can create new economic opportunities that will provide much needed employment and economic growth in mountain areas.
The development of the circular economy in mountain areas will allow inhabitants to benefit from resources and services available in the mountains. It will also drive the development of new approaches, for example in governance, technology, or in the building of novel tools, in so doing providing new opportunities for jobs and growth in mountain regions.
This study focuses on the forest sector as the sector is particularly adapted to a circular approach in mountainous areas in Europe.
Since 2000, the “Slovenian Entrepreneurship Observatory” publishes a report annually providing analysis of the situation of Slovenian companies and insight into Slovenian entrepreneurship. In 2018 this report had a thematic focus on the circular economy (CE), with the authors centring in on the drivers and barriers to SMEs integrating CE into business practice.
This report first provides a theoretical framework for the CE, which aims to raise awareness and facilitate information exchange between companies and individuals looking to spread circular innovation. Simultaneously this report also provides an overview of the barriers companies face in transitioning towards circularity, which include a lack of comparable indicators to benchmark and track progress; cost of eco-design; administrative burden; access to finance and a lack of awareness about the concept itself: in 2017, a survey of businesses indicated only 32% had some understanding of what a circular economy is. This survey also revealed businesses perceive economic, environmental and regulatory opportunities as the main drivers towards circularity.
The report concludes with practical aspects of CE implementation at the level of enterprises, presenting a case study which highlights the situation and the possible use of eco-design in Slovenian SMEs operating in the construction sector and conclusions with recommended steps to overcome the barriers identified.
The Centro de Documentación Europea de la Universidad Francisco de Vitoria (European Documentation Centre, UFV) has completed a project titled Economía Circular y Empleabilidad de los Jóvenes en la Comunidad de Madrid (Circular Economy and Employability of Young People in the Autonomous Region of Madrid).
The outcomes include a report on communicating the circular economy through the lens of employment opportunities circular business models provide for young people. The project has also created a guide on communicating the circular economy to students, which introduces the subject, presents the 7R model and shows how innovative companies provide opportunities for employment in circular business.
The report Retaining value in the Swedish materials system takes a value perspective on the use and recycling of materials in a circular perspective. It analyses the use of materials in the Swedish economy in monetary terms instead of tonnes and cubic metres.
The key questions it seeks to answer include the following:
- For each 100 SEK of raw material entering the Swedish economy, how much value is retained after one use cycle?
- What are the main reasons that material value is lost?
- What measures could retain more materials value, and how much could be recovered? Which business opportunities arise as a result?
This value perspective gives a much more realistic view of how circular the Swedish materials system really is, as it captures all the downgrading effects that occur through its use of materials, in addition to the volume effects that also traditional research approaches capture. The value perspective also turns materials recycling into an industrial innovation and an economic topic, in addition to an environmental topic. To our knowledge, this is the first time anyone has value-mapped a material system in this way.
Read more about the results and download the full report (in Swedish) here.
When 68 Dutch architectural firms signed a manifesto for circular construction in 2018, it became apparent that this field is committed and eager to apply circular economy principles in designing and building for sustainable development. Nonetheless there are few available resources on commencing such a process, which is why the BNA (Dutch Association of Architects) commissioned a study on 'Designing Circularity Jointly: Circular Architecture and Construction' in 2018.
The transition to a circular economy is a quest where nobody has the correct and precise information on what inputs are required to reduce carbon emissions, ensure raw materials are processed in a circular loop and the built environment is repurposed at end of life. Designing truly circular buildings requires frameworks and insights. These are summarised in the report's eight key messages:
- circular economy is a shared quest full of complexity, obstacles and uncertainty, which is why openness, trust and courage are crucial;
- architects need more circular assignments to be able to benchmark and share experiences with each other;
- architects should play a greater role in designing buildings that can actually be built, maintained and recycled;
- collaboration across the entire value chain is necessary to map out resource flows and design in a truly circular fashion;
- regulation stimulates either renovation or newbuilds, becoming an obstacle when architects attempt to fuse old structures with new materials, linear raw materials with circular processes, and outdated standards with pioneering ones;
- despite a lot of information being available, architects find it difficult to access sustainable materials that have passed the necessary quality checks;
- the lack of clear guidelines about what is circular in the construction sector limits the adoption of corresponding principles;
- there are no easily accessible and understandable tools to guide practitioners in designing a circular structure.
Selon le Programme des Nations Unies pour l’Environnement, la consommation globale de ressources pourrait plus que doubler entre 2015 et 2050, mettant sous très forte pression les capacités planétaires. L’économie circulaire serait susceptible d’être une des réponses à l’épuisement des ressources et aux pressions sur l’environnement – pollution, destruction de la biodiversité.
Les entreprises sont de plus en plus nombreuses à explorer de nouveaux modèles d’affaires intégrant les principes de l’économie circulaire. Or, pour piloter leurs démarches et leurs stratégies, elles ont un besoin croissant d’indicateurs pour mesurer leur degré de circularité et ses effets sur l’environnement.
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.
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.
The circular economy is more than a potential model for Luxembourg; it is an economic imperative. Due to its history of exhausting resources then finding substitutes, Luxembourg is already a testing ground for circularity methods. For example its steel, aluminum, glass, and other industries are expert at re-using secondary raw materials. The re-use of those materials is core to their economic survival. It is a competitive necessity to sharpen their capacities in those areas.
Because Luxembourg’s exemplary European society is based on equity, cultural tolerance, economic stability, responsive government and manageable size, the country is a powerful proving ground for circularity. Its heritage of quality and its service-based economy allow leveraging of skills to take advantage of the embedded growth potential. The likely benefits for Luxembourg are considerable. The starting position is excellent. The capabilities and motivation seem to be in place. It is now only a question of providing a nucleus and initial catalyst to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy at scale. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Ministry of the Economy in particular have powerful roles to play as catalysts for circularity.
In the present situation where knowledge of circular economy potential is low but know-how for supporting technology and services is high, the government has a special brief opportunity to seize the initiative by delivering powerful messages about circularity through initiating and coordinating actions, as well as supporting those with a solid foundation of education, training and national co-branding. By leveraging those mechanisms the government will provide the enabling framework for its stakeholders to implement a circular economy with innovative lighthouse initiatives.
The workbook 'Organising for the Circular Economy - A Workbook for Developing Circular Business Models' supports companies and other organisations that aim to become circular by providing a unique model that highlights the various building blocks of circular business models.
A concrete step-by-step approach allows organisations to work on the development of their own circular business model. To clarify and inspire, a set of infographics displaying the cycles of 30 front-runner organisations from the Netherlands, which already actively incorporate circularity in their business operations, is provided alongside the workbook.
The workbook and infographics can be downloaded free of charge from this website.
The study analysed the economic effects of the transposition of Directive 1999/44/EC concerning warranty rights, which had to be transposed into national law by January 2002. A number of publications had suggested that strengthening warranty rights for consumer goods as foreseen in the directive could increase the price level of these goods, possibly resulting in a reduced purchases. The study addressed both questions by analysing data from several EU countries. The first question was addressed by analysing inflation rates of general prices and of prices for the consumer goods affected by the directive in the time period 1998 until 2002. The second question was analysed by looking at the share of consumers who used online consumer-to-consumer markets, which were not covered by the warranty rights foreseen in the directive.
The comparison of inflation rates for consumer goods showed that inflation rates for consumer goods were below the general inflation rate between 1998 and 2004. Therefore, between 1998 and 2004 prices for the different groups of consumer goods covered by the directive did not increase but actually appear to have decreased slightly. This effect has been found for all countries analysed with no significant differences between countries transposing the minimum standards and those that went beyond. The second part of the analysis addressed the question if a developed market for online consumer-to-consumer selling of goods exists, for which the new seller's warranties weren't valid. In case of price increases for business-to-consumer markets – which have not been found in the first part of the analysis – part of the transactions could be transferred to these markets. The analysis showed that the vast majority of consumers in Western European countries used the internet regularly to purchase goods, including the online-platform Ebay. In case of increasing prices for consumer goods because of strengthened warranty rights, part of the transactions would move to online consumer-to-consumer markets rather than resulting in an overall decline of consumer goods purchases. The general conclusion was that over the analysed time period no negative impact of strengthened warranty rights on the price level of consumer goods could be found.
What would the European territory look like in 2030, if Europe had completed a transition to a place based circular economy?
The fourth volume of the ' Possible European Territorial Futures' Final report, Volume D, focuses on the impact that a place based circular economy will have on territorial development in EU and provides background information and nuanced considerations concerning the territorial foresight for a place based circular economy. It is part of a larger ESPON study on territorial foresight, aiming to better understand the implications of either development trends or ideas for a wanted or unwanted future. Europe’s territorial structure under a place based circular economy will differ from the one we know today. This economy will imply dramatic changes for all parts of Europe and will also affect urbanisation and territorial balance. At a European level, the differences between strong socio-economic areas and the lagging regions may reduce under a place based circular economy. The study illustrates the potential for small and medium-sized towns, as well as the challenges for sparsely populated areas and inner-peripheries. It also highlights the importance of networks in driving innovations in a circular economy and leading areas in the sharing economy. Furthermore, the study shows areas which could expect particular transition challenges in consumer behaviour (including tourists) and changing manufacturing structures.
This paper reviews the existing literature on modelling the macroeconomic consequences of the transition to a circular economy. It provides insights into the current state of the art on modelling policies to improve resource efficiency and the transition to a circular economy by examining 24 modelling-based assessments of a circular economy transition. Four key conclusions emerge from this literature. First, most models find that a transition to a more circular economy – with an associated reduction in resource extraction and waste generation – could have an insignificant or even positive impact on aggregate macroeconomic outcomes. Second, all models highlight the potential re-allocation effects – both between sectors and regions – that the introduction of circular economy enabling policies could have. Third, certain types of macroeconomic model are more appropriate for assessing the transition than others, notably due to their accounting of interactions between sectors and macroeconomic feedbacks. Fourth, of the assumptions that are fed into these models – those concerning future rates of productivity growth, the substitutability between different material types, and future consumption patterns – are key determinants of model outcomes.
Toxic substances linked to a range of adverse health impacts can be present in carpets sold in the European Union, the European Public Health Alliance and the Health and Environment Alliance warned today following a new study by Anthesis. The study identifies over 59 hazardous substances found in carpets sold in the EU, including endocrine disruptors and carcinogens, linked to serious health conditions such as cancers, learning disabilities and fertility problems.
Évaluation environnementale du recyclage en France selon la méthodologie de l’analyse de cycle de vie
Évaluation environnementale du recyclage en France selon la méthodologie de l’analyse de cycle de vie
Au sein du défi global qu’est le développement durable, l’économie circulaire est un levier important pour les autorités publiques et les industriels. Le recyclage est l’un des leviers qui permet d’atteindre les objectifs d’économie de ressources et de diminution des émissions de gaz à effet de serre fixés à travers différents textes européens et nationaux. Ainsi, En France, on peut citer la loi n° 2015-992 du 17 août 2015 relative à la transition énergétique pour la croissance verte fixant, parmi d’autres, l’objectif d’augmentation de la quantité de déchets non dangereux non inertes valorisés sous forme de matière à 55% (en masse) en 2020 et 65% en 2025 ainsi que l’objectif spécifique aux déchets du bâtiment et des travaux publics de valoriser sous forme de matière 70 % des déchets en 2020.
The central theme of this report is how to greatly enhance resource efficiency. The proposition is that a circular economy, where products are designed for ease of recycling, reuse, disassembly and remanufacturing should replace the traditional, linear ’take, make & dispose’ model that has dominated the economy so far. Most studies so far on the circular economy focus primarily on the business case for enhanced resource efficiency. This report rather focuses on the social benefits that a transformation from a linear to a circular economy would entail. In this report the focus is on Poland and the Czech Republic.
The Circular Economy and Benefits for Society - A Study pertaining to Finland, France, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden
The central theme of this report is how to greatly enhance resource efficiency. The proposition is that a circular economy, where products are designed for ease of recycling, reuse, disassembly and remanufacturing should replace the traditional, linear ’take, make & dispose’ model that has dominated the economy so far. This, no doubt, is a major prerequisite to stay within the Planetary Boundaries.