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...

    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 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...

    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...

    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...

    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 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...

    Stewardship to tackle global phosphorus inefficiency: The case of Europe

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Paul J.A. Withers et al.

    Source: 

    Year: 

    2015

    "The inefficient use of phosphorus (P) in the food chain is a threat to the global aquatic environment and the health and well-being of citizens, and it is depleting an essential finite natural resource critical for future food security and ecosystem function. We outline a strategic framework of 5R stewardship (Re-align P inputs, Reduce P losses, Recycle P in bioresources, Recover P in wastes, and Redefine P in food systems) to help identify and deliver a range of integrated, cost-effective, and feasible technological innovations to improve P use efficiency in society and reduce Europe’s...

    Phosphorus recovery and recycling from waste: An appraisal based on a French case study

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Kalimuthu Senthilkumar, Alain Mollier, Magalie Delmas, Sylvain Pellerin,Thomas Nesme

    Source: 

    Year: 

    2014

    "Phosphate rocks, used for phosphorus (P) fertilizer production, are a non-renewable resource at the human time scale. Their depletion at the global scale may threaten global food and feed security. To prevent this depletion, improved P resource recycling from food chain waste to agricultural soils and to the food and feed industry is often presented as a serious option. However, waste streams are often complex and their recycling efficiency is poorly characterized. The aim of this paper is to estimate the P recovery and recycling potential from waste, considering France as a case study....

    The effect of bioenergy expansion: Food, energy, and environment

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    J. Popp, Z.Lakner, M.Harangi-Rákos, M.Fári

    Source: 

    Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews

    Year: 

    2014

    "The increasing prices and environmental impacts of fossil fuels have made the production of biofuels to reach unprecedented volumes over the last 15 years. Given the increasing land requirement for biofuel production, the assessment of the impacts that extensive biofuel production may cause to food supply and to the environment has considerable importance. Agriculture faces some major inter-connected challenges in delivering food security at a time of increasing pressures from population growth, changing consumption patterns and dietary preferences, and post-harvest losses. At the same...

    Environmental potential of the collaborative economy

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Cambridge Econometrics, Directorate-General for Environment, Trinomics, Vito, VVA

    Year: 

    2018

    "Collaborative platforms, such as Airbnb, Blablacar and Peerby, have changed the ways in which goods and services are offered and consumed in the economy. There has been a recent growth in studies analysing the drivers, impacts and scope of the collaborative economy. Some of them point to positive environmental impacts of such platforms. However, none of the studies so far have provided a systematic, qualitative and quantitative analysis of the impacts. This study fills this gap by answering two questions: (1) What is the environmental impact of the collaborative economy today and in the...

    The circular economy and the bioeconomy - Partners in sustainability

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Mieke De Schoenmakere et al.

    Source: 

    EEA

    Year: 

    2018

    "This is the third in a series of reports on the circular economy in support of the framing, implementation and evaluation of European circular economy policy from an environmental perspective. The two previous reports applied a systemic approach to framing a circular economy and to the products within it. This report on the bioeconomy addresses circularity aspects of bio-based products and the sustainable use of renewable natural resources." (https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/circular-economy-and-...

    Report about integrated scenario interpretation EXIOMOD / LPJmL results

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Jinxue Hu et al.

    Source: 

    POLFREE project

    Year: 

    2015

    The work by Hu et al. (2015) was conducted within the same project as modelling by Meyer et al. (2015) and it examines the same set of scenarios. However, there are some major differences between the two exercises, including modelling principles, policy implementation and reference scenarios, which results in discrepancies in results. The GDP trajectory until 2050 estimated by Hu et al. (2015) is almost the same in the baseline as well as in the “Global cooperation” and “EU goes ahead” cases. Implementation of policies under both scenarios, however, appears to yield optimistic results in...