The annual Circular Nonwovens Forum creates a platform for an in-depth engagement with stakeholders on challenges and opportunities in the pursuit of a circular economy for nonwovens, and ollectively finding opportunities to accelerate this transition. Converted into a webinar for 2020, it will cover 5 presentations and break-out sessions to stimulate the discussions among the participants.
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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.
This research reviews the long history and diversity of circularity thinking to develop a comprehensive timeline, which identifies and conceptually classifies 72 different CE-related concepts from the Global North and South alike (such as industrial ecology, Gandhian and steady-state economics, buen vivir, doughnut economics, degrowth).
In November 2020 the paper was completed with an interactive timeline that helps researchers and practitioners better situate and navigate the concept of circular economy, both in its rich historical origins and in its theoretical diversity. It thus fosters a cross-pollination of concepts and ideas which can help address the complex socio-ecological challenges of the 21st century.
To learn more about this timeline, please click here.
Circular Flooring focuses on the recovery of the PVC compound from post-consumer PVC floor coverings and the separation of legacy plasticisers in order to create a recycled material for the manufacturing of new PVC floor coverings.
A new project addressing the systemic complexities of the Circular Economy is being submitted as a Marie Curie (MSCA) post doc proposal. As these aspects build upon multi-stakeholder knowledge and insights, you are kindly invited to join the project community and collaborate.
The Circularity Gap Report Norway is an in-depth analysis of how Norway consumes raw materials to fuel its societal needs. Currently, 97.6% of materials consumed each year never make it back into the economy.
Norway also has one of the highest per capita consumption rates in the world (44.3 tonnes per person). At 2.4%, its circularity rate is below the global average (8.6%). Each year Norway consumes 235 million tonnes of materials - metals, fossil fuels, biomass and minerals - to meet its internal needs.
However, the report reveals how Norway could see a 20-fold increase in its circularity by restructuring its businesses and industry through 6 key actions in the following fields:
- repair, reuse and recycle
- forestry and wood products.
Participate in a series of short online events aimed to inspire housing organisations, policy-makers and communities. They will focus on circular economy in housing and on how communities can develop new homes or retrofit existing homes with minimal impact on the planet.
The furniture sector and Circular Economy 2.0: the European Furniture Industries Confederation shares its views
From a “circular” point of view, the wide range of products considered to be "furniture" and the diverse use of materials in production (e.g. wood, plastics, textile, steel, glass, composites, foam) makes it a complex area to address.
The European Furniture Industries Confederation (EFIC) has drawn up a position paper that identifies challenges and opportunities linked to the circular economy transition, covering the different phases of manufacturing from supply of materials to the end-of-life phase, and that provides sector-specific expertise on EU Circular Economy policies.
The European furniture industries are ready to work together with EU institutions to create suitable tools for the sector, enabling it to move in the right direction.
The CYCLE 2013-2017 interdisciplinary project, supported by the Research Council of Norway, focused on the food supply chain from both agriculture and marine sectors, with the aim to improve utilisation of raw materials in a bio-economical perspective.
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.
SCALER provides mechanisms to accelerate the journey towards efficient and quick implementation of industrial symbiosis in the European process industry. They do this by developing action plans and adapted solutions to industrial stakeholders and communities.
SCALER works closely with a wide range of stakeholders including industrial networks, consultancies, researchers and policy makers at various geographic and political levels, to deliver practical tools and guidelines for industry actors engaging in resource efficiency, reuse and sharing.
To achieve this goal, SCALER is developing a set of reports and guides. They offer insights into how businesses can start industrial resource synergies with other companies to minimise their waste and create more value from their production.
Circularise Plastics: an open standard making the plastics supply chain more transparent, fair and profitable
Two European companies, polyamide supplier Domo and polymer manufacturer Covestro, are collaborating with Dutch technology startup Circularise to create a system for tracking plastics.
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.
The Circular Economy for the Data Centre Industry (CEDaCI) is a European project focusing on circular data centres. The project is of increasing collaboration and communication to drive sustainability in the data industry.
The textile industry needs to innovate for the sake of the industry and its people, the healthcare sector and the environment.
It can create clothes that monitor health conditions and measure body movements, as well as technologies that recycle/reuse textile fibres.
Since its creation in 2006, Smart Textiles has developed over 500 research/business projects. Visit its Showroom to find out about new materials/prototypes/products, or its Technology Lab at the University of Borås, where technological advances are achieved thanks to inter-disciplinary cooperation.
The Data Centre Industry (DCI) is one of the most important pillars of current technological and economic developments.
In DCIs, more than fifty different materials can be found per product, including ferrous, non-ferrous metals, precious metals (PM), platinum group metals (PGM), rare earth elements (REE), plastics and/or ceramics, some being considered as Critical Raw Materials (CRMs).
This assessment aims to study DCI design and material composition (specifically servers and switches), as well as to analyse their performance in a circular economy and provide recommendations for ecodesign guidelines.
Improved selection and pre-treatment of plastics from End-of-Life Vehicles reduce carbon footprint by 75%
AIMPLAS, the Spanish Plastics Technology Centre, is coordinating the LIFE CIRC-ELV project (other participants are Desguaces Cortés, Sigit and Sigrauto from Spain, Indra from France, and Isolago from Portugal) with the aim of creating a new, technically and economically viable network in Europe for reuse and recovery of at least 95% by weight of end-of-life vehicles.
The circular economy's closed loop and product service systems for sustainable development: A review and appraisal
This review paper of Mark Anthony Camilleri examines relevant regulatory guidelines, policies, and recommendations on sustainable development, where it traces the origins of circular economy (CE). It goes on to shed light on key theoretical underpinnings of CE's closed loop and product service systems.
The findings suggest that the CE's regenerative systems minimise the environmental impact as practitioners reduce their externalities, including waste, emissions, and energy leakages through the use and reuse of resources. Therefore, this contribution offers a critique on CE's inherent limitations and discusses about the implications of having regulatory interventions that are intended to encourage responsible consumption and production behaviours.
AIMPLAS and OLIPE use olive stones to develop a new sustainable plastic material for oil product packaging
AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, and OLIPE, Olivarera de los Pedroches, have carried out a project entitled GO-OLIVA, aimed at finding a high value-added application for olive stone waste by producing a new sustainable material for oil product packaging.
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.
In the third year of the RepescaPlas project, chemical recycling will be used to turn marine litter into fuel for fishing boats. During the first two years of the RepescaPlas project, five tonnes of marine litter were recovered through mechanical recycling operations.
Research on Remelting and Purification of Si-kerf for PV wafers is part of CABRISS, a European collaboration aimed to develop a circular economy mainly for the photovoltaic but also other industries such as electronics or metallurgy.
During production of silicon wafers out of silicon (Si) ingots and wafers, about 40–50% of the material is lost due to the cutting technique. The research had kerf from slurry based wafer cuttings undergoing several refining steps and being remelted into ingots for PV-application.
Conclusion: With 10% refined material, ingots were still directionally solidified, whereas with 100% refined material, they were not. The presented refining method does not allow for ingots with 100% refined material to be used as PV-material.
The project Recycling of broken Si based structures and solar cells is part of CABRISS, a European collaboration aimed to develop a circular economy mainly for the photovoltaic (PV), but also for other industries such as electronics or metallurgy.
The paper presents some tests in which broken solar cell structures coming from an early stage in the PV production process chain as well as broken finished solar cells have been recycled into new silicon (Si) feedstock through demetallisation, purification and directional solidification.
The paper explores two different routes to remove diffusion layers and anti-reflection coating (ARC) on broken cells. It also presents the characteristics of ingots produced with the Si-feedstock from the two routes by directional solidification.
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.
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 Green Sewer is a LIFE Program funded project that aims to implement a new secondary wastewater treatment of industrial water.
The overall objective of BIORECOVER is the research and development of a new sustainable and safe process, essentially based on biotechnology, for selective extraction of a wide range of critical raw materials (CRMs) such as Rare Earths, Magnesium or Platinum Group Metals.
Delivering a circular economy within the planet’s boundaries: An analysis of the new EU Circular Economy Action Plan
Delivering a circular economy within the planet’s boundaries: an analysis of the new EU Circular Economy Action Plan
This analysis by IEEP and SEI assesses to what extent the actions included in the new Circular Economy Action Plan published by the European Commission on 11 March 2020 may contribute to a more circular European economy within the boundaries of the planet.
The authors conclude that the action plan is a promising continuation of existing efforts, but ask for more concrete measures to address unsustainable resource consumption.
The authors make five recommendations to EU policymakers in this regard and emphasise the importance of EU Member States and the private sector showing leadership and willingness to innovate.
PLATIRUS project - meeting the PGM (Platinum Group Metals) supply gap by recovering materials from secondary resources
The PLATIRUS project seeks to address the European shortage of Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) by recovering PGMs from alternative secondary resources. It has the potential to offer a substitute for a large proportion of these critical raw materials which are becoming ever more scarce.
Rare Earth Elements (REEs) are considered as "key enablers" of green technologies. However, they are also the elements with the highest supply risk.
The EU funded project REE4EU has developed processes that may help to regain REEs from RE-containing waste streams.