Library

The library contains a wealth of information on the circular economy for use by policy makers and analysts conducting impact assessments. For more information on impact assessments and the EU's Better Regulation Agenda, please click here.

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    Circular economy in Europe: Developing the knowledge base

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Almut Reichel, Mieke De Schoenmakere, Jeroen Gillabel

    Source: 

    EEA

    Year: 

    2016

    This report seeks to help policy makers to better understand the circular economy, by focusing on four of its dimensions; the main enabling factors and transition challenges, indicators for measuring progress and contextual issues. One of the main conclusions regarding the monitoring of progress is that for now the focus is on developments in resource efficiency and waste management, which covers a part, but not the whole, of the circular economy. More data is needed on eco-design, the sharing economy, and repair and reuse. Furthermore, social indicators, industrial symbiosis indicators...

    Delivering the circular economy - a toolkit for policymakers

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Andrew Morlet et al.

    Source: 

    Ellen MacArthur Foundation

    Year: 

    2016

    This report wants to provide countries and their policy makers who are interested in a transition to the circular economy with a toolkit. To test this toolkit, a case study was performed for Denmark. It focused on opportunities in several sectors; food and beverage, construction and real estate, machinery, plastic packaging and hospitals. Eight important conclusions were drawn:

    • The transition to a circular economy can deliver the expected lasting benefits of a more innovative, resilient and productive economy.
    • The circular economy provides many opportunities that are...

    Growth within: A circular economy vision for a competitive Europe

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Ellen MacArthur et al.

    Source: 

    Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment (sponsered by Stiftungsfonds für Umweltökonomie)

    Year: 

    2015

    This report seeks to answer five questions:

    1. Is Europe’s current resource model effective?
    2. Will the technology revolution solve Europe’s resource issues?
    3. What would a circular economy in Europe look like?
    4. What economic outcomes could a circular model achieve in Europe?
    5. If Europe decided to shift towards a circular model, how could policy-makers and business leaders accelerate the transition?

    Three of Europe’s most resource-intensive basic needs are discussed; food, mobility and the built environment, all together comprising 60% of...

    Environmental taxation and EU environmental policies

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Stefan Speck, Susanna Paleari

    Source: 

    EEA

    Year: 

    2016

    "This report does three things. It provides an overview of market-based instruments (MBIs) established by EU environmental legislation. Then it explains the established definitions and rationales for the application of environmental taxes and discusses their current design and application in EEA member countries. It concludes with overall findings and some reflections on the potential for long-term tax-shifting programmes in the context of policy targets as well as technlogical innovation and demographic changes." (p. 6)

    A Circular Economy in the Netherlands by 2050

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment

    Source: 

    Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment

    Year: 

    2016

    This program explores the challenges and possibilities for realizing a circular economy by 2050 in the Netherlands. Both current and follow-up steps are identified for this purpose. The following barriers for the transition to a circular economy are mentioned: regulations, the non-internalisation of external effects, the lack of knowledge for technical, social and system innovation, non-circular behaviour of citizens and professionals, adaptation problems in the production chain, consolidated investments and interests, limited influence in the international playing field. The Dutch...

    Resource-efficient green economy and EU policies

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Roberto Zoboli, Susanna Paleari, Giovanni Marin, Massimiliano Mazzanti, Francesco Nicolli, Anna Montini, Valeria Miceli, Stefan Speck

    Source: 

    EEA

    Year: 

    2014

    This report wants to contribute to a better understanding of the green economy and all the major forces and policies involved. It predominantly focuses on improving resource efficiency from a macro-economic perspective, for which eco-innovation is a primary enabling factor. However, the spread of technologies derived from eco-innovation often is obstructed by several barriers, such as finance, knowledge, costs, markets etc. Fiscal reforms, like environmental taxes and emission trading schemes are also crucial major enabling factors, but to what extent depends on their design (rebound...

    Advancing Resource Efficiency in Europe: Indicators and waste policy scenarios to deliver a resource efficient and sustainable Europe

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Dr. Jane Beasley, Ray Georgeson

    Source: 

    European Environmental Bureau

    Year: 

    2014

    The EEB’s report utilized a baseline scenario created by projections related to existing waste policy. They expanded upon this baseline by proposing policy adjustments in the form of new formulations and altered target setting, which they conclude could result in substantial positive environmental, social, and economic impacts. The report also emphasizes a strong belief in the success of in-creased regulatory policy moving forward.

    Regulatory barriers for the Circular Economy: Lessons from ten case studies

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Joost van Barneveld et al.

    Source: 

    Technopolis Group, Fraunhofer ISI, thinkstep, Wuppertal Institute

    Year: 

    2016

    This report takes a look at several circular economy practices and identifies regulatory barriers that obstruct their full potential. Subsequently, recommendations are provided on how to overcome these barriers.

    Environmental sustainability assessment of bioeconomy value chains

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Jorge Cristóbol et al.

    Source: 

    European Commission, JRC, IES

    Year: 

    2016

    "The objectives of this work were: (1) to map and analyse accessible LCA data related to bioeconomy value chains in order to identify knowledge gaps; (2) provide a more robust and complete picture of the environmental performance of three bioeconomy value chains (i.e. one per each bioeconomy pillar). This analysis reveals that apart from few products (such as liquid biofuels, some biopolymers and food crops) the environmental assessment of bioeconomy value chains is still incipient and limited to few indicators (e.g. Global Warming Potential and energy efficiency). In this study, a...

    Circular Advantage: Innovative Business Models and Technologies to Create Value in a World without Limits to Growth

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Accenture

    Source: 

    Accenture

    Year: 

    2014

    This report mainly focuses on the question what companies can do to become more circular, and why it is in their best interest to do so. To this end, it among others discusses several business models, disruptive technologies and capabilities.

    Opportunities for a circular economy in the Netherlands

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Ton Bastein, Elsbeth Roelofs, Elmer Rietveld, Alwin Hoogendoorn

    Source: 

    TNO

    Year: 

    2013

    "This report analyses the opportunities and obstacles that will present themselves as the Netherlands moves towards a more circular economy. It proposes a number of actions that can be taken, particularly by the government, to accelerate this process." (https://www.government.nl/documents/reports/2013/10/04/opportunities-for...)

    Resource Efficiency: Potential and Economic Implications

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Paul Ekins, Nick Hughes et al.

    Source: 

    International Resource Panel

    Year: 

    2017

    "This report examines the potential for increasing resource efficiency in industrialized countries, including the G7, emerging economies and developing countries. It focuses on the use of natural resources and the environment, including energy, land, water, raw materials: biotic and abiotic, marine and freshwater, oceanic and terrestrial. The evidence base includes the recent and ongoing work of the International Resource Panel, as well as that of a number of international organizations that have addressed this issue. The report also seeks to identify transboundary effects and discusses...

    INTHERWASTE

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Interreg Europe

    Year: 

    2017

    The aim of INTHERWASTE is to have European Heritage Cities exchange experiences and policies for efficient and sustainable management of municipal waste and in order to contribute through mutual capacity-building, policy learning and drafting action plans - to the environmental performance of waste management in EU cities.The capacity of the staff of involved authorities to design and implement policies and measures in the waste field and governance in the same field are expected to be improved, too. Solutions and policies proved feasible in INTHERWASTE are believed to be transferable to...

    Life cycle impact assessment of beverage packing systems: focus on the collection of post-consumer bottles

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Balint Simon, Mourad Ben Amor, Rita Rita Földényi

    Year: 

    2015

    "Choice of packaging material has a significant contribution to the overall impact of beverage value chain. Collection of post-consumer packaging materials is often controlled by national or regional regulation, which have to be based on sound considerations. Therefore, stakeholders alongside the packaging value chain need for supporting information to select environmentally sound packaging and define own policy. To meet comprehensiveness, five different packaging materials were examined during their whole life cycle. Due to the potentially direct impact of collection system on the human...

    German Resource Efficiency Programme (ProgRess) - programme for the sustainable use of natural resources

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety

    Year: 

    2012

    "The current use of natural resources is already far exceeding the Earth’s regenerative capacity. A responsible and efficient use of natural resources will therefore be a key competence for any society seeking to ensure its future viability. Improving resource efficiency can limit environmental damage, strengthen the competitiveness of the German economy, create new jobs and secure long-term employment. Therefore, on 29 February 2012, the Federal Cabinet adopted the German Resource Efficiency Programme (ProgRess). With this, the German government implemented the decision in its Raw...

    Beyond the Throwaway Society: A Life Cycle-Based Assessment of the Environmental Benefit of Reuse

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Valentina Castellani, Serenella Sala, Nadia Mirabella

    Year: 

    2015

    "In the context of a circular economy, sustainable consumption is often seen as the antithesis of current consumption patterns, which have led to the definition of the so-called throwaway society. Reuse may provide a preferred alternative to other waste management options, because it promotes resource efficiency and may significantly reduce environmental impacts. To appraise the environmental benefits related to reuse of goods, a methodology adopting life cycle assessment (LCA) has been developed. A standardized procedure has been developed, identifying reference products within product...

    Limitations of the waste hierarchy for achieving absolute reductions in material throughput

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    S. Van Ewijk, J.A. Stegemann

    Source: 

    Year: 

    2016

    "Dematerialization can serve as a measurable and straightforward strategy for sustainability and requires changes in management of material inputs and waste outputs of the economy. Currently, waste management is strongly inspired by the waste hierarchy, an influential philosophy in waste and resource management that prioritizes practices ranging from waste prevention to landfill. Despite the inclusion and prioritization of prevention in the hierarchy, the positive contribution of the application of the waste hierarchy to dematerializing the economy is not inevitable, nor has it been...

    Crossing the threshold: municipal waste policy and household waste generation

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Harriet Bulkeley, Nicky Gregson

    Source: 

    Year: 

    2009

    "This paper connects research on home-based consumption with research on waste policy and governance. We argue that, in order to meet the enhanced goals of waste reduction specified in Waste Strategy for England 2007, UK municipal waste policy needs a far closer engagement with the household, the primary unit of consumption. Opening-up the ‘black box’ of the household, we show why the potential for achieving enhanced rates of materials diversion through recycling is limited in certain neighbourhoods. We demonstrate the potential for furthering waste reduction through the intensification of...

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