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Circular Economy in Cities: Evolving the model for a sustainable urban future

Circular Economy in Cities

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Author: 
World Economic Forum
Publication Date: 
03/2018
Country: 
Switzerland

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The World Economic Forum’s Future of Urban Development and Services Initiative has released its new White Paper on the Circular Economy in Cities: evolving the model for a sustainable urban future.

This White Paper traces the conceptual underpinnings of the Circular Economy, and explains why cities are key to accelerating the transition away from the traditional ‘take-make-dispose’ model. It draws on examples from cities around the world in areas that include: channelling used building materials to new building sites, water harvesting and reuse, reducing energy use, electronic waste, healthcare and procurement. It explains the opportunities in the Circular Economy for all stakeholders and the ways in which they can work together at city level.

Regulatory barriers for the circular economy

Regulatory Barriers for CE cover page

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Author: 
Technopolis Group, Fraunhofer ISI, Wuppertal Institute, thinkstep
Publication Date: 
11/2016
Country: 
Germany

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This report, commissioned by DG GROW and prepard by Technopolis and Franhofer ISI, identified major obstacles of regulatory nature or gaps within the existing legal framework where significant unlocked opportunities remain. The study includes an in-depth analysis of the identified obstacles and possible solutions through specific cases.

The analysis of specific regulatory barriers includes the full product lifecycle and focuses on the interfaces between different steps of the value chain (extraction/production, production/production internal loops, production/use, collection, waste-management/recycling/production). Barriers can be categorised within these 3 themes:

  • Several case studies identified regulatory barriers often related to lacking legislation that would allow the collection and pre-treatment of homogenous waste streams.
  • The second type of barrier refers to legislation that hinders the use of recycled materials in production processes
  • The third type of barrier is related to the lack of concrete and enforceable product requirements.

The analysis also highlights a variety of different generic types of barriers: in many cases waste legislation focuses on quantities (weight based collection or recycling targets) and not so much on the qualities of recycled materials. Inconsistencies between existing regulations, e.g. related to REACH or End-of-Waste criteria, have also been mentioned in a variety of case studies.

The study concludes that in general, high-quality recycling is definitely not prevented by regulatory obstacles, but by lacking or unclear legislation. Prime examples are End-of-Waste criteria or quality standards for secondary raw materials that create legal uncertainties for the industry that make it rational to continue to focus on primary raw material input.

The circular economy and the bioeconomy — Partners in sustainability

The circular economy and the bioeconomy — Partners in sustainability

EEA circular and bioeconomy report cover page

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Author: 
European Environmental Agency
Publication Date: 
08/2018
Country: 
Denmark

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'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.

 

27 Nov 2018
driving sust in euro pub procurement logo

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City: 
Brussels
Country: 
Belgium

This high-level conference on Sustainability in Public Procurement provides an avenue for debate on what the EU and Member States can do to ensure a wider uptake of circular economy in strategic public procurement and serves as a forum to share best practices from selected industries. 

26 Nov 2018 to 27 Nov 2018
ecovation 2018 logo

ECOVATION 2018 is a two-day conference on innovation and Sustainability in Public Procurement organised by the Austrian Service Center for Public Procurement Promoting Innovation on behalf of the Federal Ministries for Digital and Economic Affairs; Transport, Innovation and Technology.

Implementing Circular Economy globally makes Paris targets achievable

Implementing Circular Economy globally makes Paris targets achievable

Paris targets achievable title page

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Author: 
ECOFYS, Circle Economy
Publication Date: 
06/2016
Country: 
Netherlands

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Contact: 
Cornelis Blok
Preeti Srivastav

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

figure displaying employment effects of eco-innovation
Author: 
Prof. Dr. Jens Horbach, Klaus Rennings, Katrin Sommerfeld
Publication Date: 
09/2015
Country: 
Germany

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Contact: 
Jens Horbach

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.

Ghent's circular approach is turning its Old Dockyards brownfield into waterfront housing

In Ghent, Belgium, the circular economy brings together companies, institutions, governments and citizens on the way to sustainability. The Old Dockyards is a waterfront housing project where closing loops at the district level is key. Approximately 1,500 housing units will be constructed through public-private partnerships (PPPs).

UpCycle City contest - City of Almere

The municipality of Almere aspires to become a waste-free and energy-neutral city by 2022. The administration wants to bring the business community and knowledge institutes’ innovative power together to enable co-creation in the field of waste management and upcycling in the urban context.

Brussels Regional Programme for Circular Economy

The Brussels Regional Programme for Circular Economy (BRPCE) is an integrated strategy involving 111 measures aimed at delivering circular patterns at the city level. The main objectives of the BPRCE are:

  • to transform environmental objectives into economic opportunities
  • to anchor economic activities within Brussels’ borders, maximising resource circularity and boosting entrepreneurship, and
  • to create new employment opportunities.

London Waste and Recycling is delivering on the circular economy with stakeholder buy-in

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United Kingdom

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London is among one the world’s most cosmopolitan and oldest cities, and one of the most cosmopolitan. As Britain’s largest city and country’s economic, transportation and cultural capital, over 8 million people live in London. A more flexible and sustainable approach to products, housing, office space and critical infrastructure is crucial to London’s ability to adapt and grow.

20 Sep 2018
Vienna conference poster

The EU Circular Economy Package and its implementation will be key issues during the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2018.

The Austrian Water and Waste Management Association (ÖWAV) the Austrian Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism (BMNT) and Altstoff Recycling Austria AG (ARA) will host an international circular economy conference on September 20th in Vienna.

CEC4Europe played an important role in creating the programme.

From waste to resources: Genoa looks ahead to a circular economy

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Country: 
Italy

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Genoa set itself an objective to close the loop on waste materials by taking advantage of treatment plants in the city's immediate vicinity. By adopting a long-term and territorially integrated approach, the city intends to achieve higher recycling rates within five years and strengthen the circular economy locally.

Industrial territorial ecology improves energy efficiency for the Port of Strasbourg

With half a million inhabitants, the ‘Eurométropole’ of Strasbourg is a collection of 33 municipalities and represents a centre of activity in the east of France. Deeply committed to energy transition, the Eurométropole adopted a climate plan in 2009 aimed at energy savings, the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission and the development of renewable energies.

Utrecht used recycled asphalt for the Cremerstraat cycle lane to reduce resource input

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Country: 
Netherlands

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Utrecht, one of the four biggest cities in the Netherlands, aims to be climate neutral in 2030 and to reach a fully circular economy by 2050. In a shorter term, Utrecht is committed to increasing its share of circular procurement from 4% of the annual spend in 2016 to 10% by 2020. Utrecht’s sustainable vision is also reflected in its aspiration to become the most bike-friendly city in the world.

Lyon Metropole regenerates brownsites into fertile ground

Lyon Métropole, which includes 59 municipalities and 1 300 000 inhabitants, wants to build a sustainable future for its citizens. The Métropole relies on green investments to face environmental challenges. Lyon is also committed to building circular solutions for the region and has been recognised as a ‘zero waste territory’ (territoire zéro déchet, zéro gaspillage) since 2015.

Oslo takes an integrated approach to treat waste into circular bio-resources

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Country: 
Other (Norway )

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Oslo has been developing a waste management system based on circular principles to ensure separate waste collection is maximised and transform waste into secondary raw materials. To do so it has actively engaged with citizens, farmers as well as with its city’s public transportation company.

Turin spurs social inclusion with projects reducing food waste and increasing recycling

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Country: 
Italy

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Facing dramatic deindustrialisation and an uncertain future, the city of Turin implemented processes that paired physical redevelopment with strategic planning to promote citywide revitalisation and economic restructuring in the 1990s. While the transformation has been profound, current challenges call for more circular strategies and an inclusive approach.

Munich develops a secondhand store to kickstart its local circular economy

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Germany

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Munich has taken its ambitious waste reduction strategy to the next level by developing an innovative reuse lab and shop concept. Its Halle 2 municipal secondhand store not only enables citizens to take responsibility for living more sustainably, it also provides opportunities for job creation, educational programmes and voluntary activities.

Dusseldorf is moving towards sustainable procurement with recycled office paper

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Country: 
Germany

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As a densely populated and economically powerful urban area, the city of Dusseldorf recognised the challenge of climate change early on and initiated a process of low carbon and zero waste strategy development.

Amsterdam is going Circular smartly with 'learning by doing'

In 2015, Amsterdam commissioned an in-depth study on the potential of a circular economy. The project was the first large-scale research study in the world that uses the ‘city circle scan’ methodology. The scan identifies the areas in which the most significant, tangible progress in realising a circular economy can be achieved.

Birmingham is working to reduce emissions and waste through Industrial Symbiosis

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United Kingdom

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Birmingham is Britain’s youngest and fastest growing city having also the strongest economy outside the capital and being one of the first cities to adopt a proactive industrial symbiosis approach to develop a medium and long-term strategy for sustainable economic development. The projects born from the industrial symbiosis approach are part of Birmingham’s circular economy strategy.

22 Jun 2018
closing the circularity gap logo

Our world is only 9.1% circular and creating a more prosperous world requires personal, political and business leadership. But what can you do to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy?

 

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