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...

    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...

    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.

    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...

    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...

    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...

    Designing an environmentally conscious tire closed-loop supply chain network with multiple recovery options using interactive fuzzy goal programming

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Kemal Subulan, A. Serdar Tasan, Adil Baykasoglu

    Year: 

    2015

    "Significant environmental problems have been caused by the growth in the volume of used tires each year. In addition, remanufacturing and recycling options related to the end of life for tires are crucial issues at present because of difficulties related to the degradation of these scrap tires in the environment and the economic benefits of material and energy recovery. Thus, effective collection, storage, recycling, and appropriate disposal methods are required for used tires without damaging the environment by designing an efficient closed-loop supply chain network. Based on this...

    The econonomics of tire remanufacturing

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Geraldo Ferrer

    Source: 

    Year: 

    1996

    "The world market for tires is described to identify the current material flow from raw materials to tires and the used tire disposal problem. Then, I describe the value-adding operations in the tire production process and in the tire retreading process. Once retreading is identified as the only recovery alternative that maximizes tire utilization, I explain why heat generation is the only recovery alternative, when retreading is not technically feasible. The economic values of heat generation in electric plants and in cement kilns are discussed. The paper culminates with the case of...

    The opportunities to business of improving resource efficiency

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Bio Intelligence Service, AMEC

    Year: 

    2013

    "This study forms part of the Commission's on-going analysis of the opportunities to be gained from improving resource efficiency and how best to help business realise the potential economic, as well as environmental and social benefit." (Executive Summary)

    The New Plastics Economy: Catalysing action

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Ellen MacArthur Foundation

    Year: 

    2017

    "Launched at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos in January 2017, this new research presents three strategies to increase reuse and recycling of plastic packaging to 70%, from today's recycling rate of just 14%. The report provides a clear action plan, endorsed by over 40 industry leaders, for the global plastics industry to design better packaging, increase recycling rates, and introduce new models for making better use of packaging." (https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation....

    The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, McKinsey & Company

    Source: 

    Year: 

    2016

    "The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics provides, for the first time, a vision of a global economy in which plastics never become waste, and outlines concrete steps towards achieving the systematic shift needed." (https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications/the-new-plastics-e...)

    Towards the Circular Economy Vol. 1: an economic and business rationale for an accelerated transition

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Ellen MacArthur Foundation

    Year: 

    2012

    "Using product case studies and economic-wide analysis, this report details the potential for significant benefits across the EU. It argues that a subset of the EU manufacturing sector could realise net materials cost savings worth up to $ 630 billion p.a. towards 2025 - stimulating economic activity in areas of product development, remanufacturing and refurbishment." (https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications/...

    Towards the Circular Economy Vol. 2: opportunities for the consumer goods sector

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Ellen MacArthur Foundation

    Year: 

    2013

    "The report focuses on fast-moving consumer goods, which currently accounts for about 60 per cent of total consumer spending, 35 per cent of material inputs into the economy, and 75 per cent of municipal waste. Importantly, the consumer goods sector absorbs more than 90 per cent of our agricultural output - possibly our most embattled resource in the future." (https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications/towards-the-circul...)

    Towards the Circular Economy Vol. 3: Accelerating the scale-up across global supply chains

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, McKinsey & Company

    Source: 

    Ellen MacArthur Foundation

    Year: 

    2014

    "Towards the Circular Economy vol.3: accelerating the scale-up across global supply chains, finds that over US$1 trillion a year could be generated by 2025 for the global economy and 100,000 new jobs created for the next five years if companies focused on encouraging the build-up of circular supply chains to increase the rate of recycling, reuse, and remanufacture. This would maximize the value of materials when products approach the end of their use." (...

    The Circular Economy: A review of definitions, processes and impacts

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Vasileios Rizos, Katja Tuokko, Arno Behrens

    Source: 

    CEPS

    Year: 

    2017

    Transforming the linear economy, which has remained the dominant model since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, into a circular one is by no means an easy task. Such a radical change entails a major transformation of our current production and consumption patterns, which in turn will have a significant impact on the economy, the environment and society. Understanding these impacts is crucial for researchers as well as for policy-makers engaged in designing future policies in the field. This requires developing an in-depth knowledge of the concept of the circular economy, its processes...

    PAPERCHAIN

    Type of evidence: 

    Year: 

    2017

    "Europe is the second world producer of pulp and paper, manufacturing 130 million tonnes in 2014 and representing 23% of world production. The EU pulp and paper manufacturing and converting industries generate an annual turnover of €180 billion, representing 1,26% of the European GDP. In particular, the Pulp and Paper industry (PPI) has a turnover of €75 billion, comprises 920 plants and provides 180,000 jobs in Europe directly, and 1.5 million in the value chain. This sector is resource intensive and produces 11 million tonnes of waste yearly . It has been found that 25-40% of municipal...

    Urban Biocycles

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Andrew Morlet, Dale Walker, Nick Jeffries, Aurélien Susnjara, Sarah Churchill-Slough, Lena Gravis, Ian Banks

    Source: 

    Ellen MacArthur Foundation

    Year: 

    2017

    "This scoping paper focuses on the potential of the significant volume of organic waste flowing through the urban environment. The aim is to highlight the opportunities to capture value, in the form of the energy, nutrients and materials embedded in these flows, through the application of circular economy principles. Organic waste - from the organic fraction of municipal solid waste streams and wastewater that flows through sewage systems - is traditionally seen as a costly problem in economic and environmental terms. This scoping paper will explore the idea that the equation can be...

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