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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    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...

    Circular economy: a commentary from the perspectives of the natural and social sciences

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    European Academies Science Advisory Council

    Source: 

    EASAC

    Year: 

    2015

    This commentary by the EASAC primarily examines the proposed benefits and potential enabling policies of the circular economy. A broad range of sources is used to recognize gaps and inadequacies in proposed benefits and policies in order to foster a substantial discussion among stakeholders as to how to proceed in the transition process. The study also examines barriers and indicators and comments on their nature and efficacy respectively. Furthermore, the commentary provides advice regarding avoidance of barriers and the use of proper indicators.

    A review on circular economy: the expected transition to a balanced interplay of environmental and economic systems

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Patrizia Ghisellini, Catia Cialani, Sergio Ulgiati

    Source: 

    University of Bologna, Dalarna University, Parthenope Universtiy of Naples, Beijing Normal Unversity

    Year: 

    2016

    "This study provides an extensive review of the literature of last two decades, with the purpose of grasping the main CE features and perspectives: origins, basic principles, advantages and disadvantages, modelling and implementation of CE at the different levels (micro, meso and macro) worldwide." (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652615012287)

    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...

    Intelligent Assets: Unlocking the circular economy potential

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

    Source: 

    Ellen MacArthur Foundation

    Year: 

    2016

    "This report illustrates opportunities for innovation and creativity across a spectrum of
    industries and sectors: it looks at how we manufacture and use electronics and advanced
    equipment, how we create our energy infrastructure, how we build and transform our
    buildings, and how we produce food. It assesses how smart cities might evolve to become
    a focal point for the transitions to follow. There are profit opportunities for companies to
    play for but perhaps more importantly, there’s an opportunity for society to redefine its
    relationship with resources...

    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...)

    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...

    Green Technology Choices: The Environmental and Resource Implications of Low-Carbon Technologies

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    S. Suh, J. Bergesen, T.J. Gibon, E. Hertwich, M. Taptich

    Source: 

    International Resource Panel

    Year: 

    2017

    "What happens when low-carbon electricity supply technologies are deployed alongside energy efficiency technologies? The International Resource Panel's assessment looks at the impacts and benefits for people and the environment." (http://www.resourcepanel.org/reports/green-technology-choices)

    The macroeconomics of the circular economy transition: a critical review of modelling approaches

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Andrew MacCarthy, Rob Dellink

    Source: 

    OECD

    Year: 

    2017

    "The focus of this paper is to review the literature on the [...] macroeconomic implications of the transition to a more circular economy and increased efficiency in the use of material resources. Addressing this issue is complex. Any such transition will involve multiple interactions between different sectors and countries, and will take place parallel with other trends like digitalisation and automation. Ex ante, economy-wide quantatitve models apppear to be best suited to analysing this transition as they capture the major drivers of economic consequences. Furthermore, there is...

    Nutrient Recovery and Reuse (NRR) in European agriculture: A review of the issues, opportunities, and actions

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Alan Buckwell, Elisabet Nadeu

    Source: 

    RISE Foundation

    Year: 

    2016

    "The report makes a thorough revision of the use of nitrogen and phosphorus in European agriculture and assesses the scope for increased nutrient recovery and reuse and the actions needed to make it possible.

    Exponential growth in the flow of nutrients is causing serious environmental and public health impacts, posing the greatest threat to European food and environmental security. The study identifies three main levers to contain the growing damage: dietary change goals, improved crop and animal nutrient use efficiency and a reduction of waste. The study acknowledges that while ...

    Circular Economy Mapping Week

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Circular Economy Club

    Year: 

    2018

    "CEC is thrilled by the participation, knowledge and network built through the Circular Economy Mapping Week held in over 65 cities worldwide during this past week [5th – 11th February 2018]. During this week, CEC Organizers voluntarily set up group sessions to map the circular initiatives in their cities. Workshops took place in 65+ cities, including Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Madrid, Montreal, New York, London, São Paulo, Singapore and Taipei.

    The CEC Mapping Week had two objectives:

    1. To bring together circular enthusiasts to discuss and learn
    2. ...

    Recycling Concrete

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    The Cement Sustainability Initiative

    Year: 

    2009

    "In its report “Recycling Concrete” the CSI argues that the recycling of concrete can reduce natural resource exploitation and waste going to landfill. The report asks for an ultimate goal of “zero landfill” of concrete. The recovery of concrete falls between standard definitions of reuse and recycling: concrete is broken down into aggregates (granular material), generally to be used in road works, but also as aggregates in new concrete. Recovering concrete has two main advantages: it reduces the use of new virgin aggregate and the associated environmental costs of exploitation and...

    Circular economy and health: opportunities and risks

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Alistair Hunt et al.

    Source: 

    WHO

    Year: 

    2018

    "The extensive use of natural resources threatens to exceed the carrying capacity of the Earth. The concept of a circular economy offers an avenue to sustainable growth, good health and decent jobs, while saving the environment and its natural resources. Further, the change from a linear economy (take, make, dispose) to a circular economy (renew, remake, share) is expected to support significantly the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 12 on responsible consumption and production. So far, however, the coverage of the health implications of a transition...

    Contemporary Resource Policy and Decoupling Trends - Lessons Learnt from Integrated Model-Based Assessments

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Mark Meyer et al.

    Source: 

    Sustainability

    Year: 

    2018

    "Addressing climate change and natural resource depletion has been key to the international and national sustainability agenda for almost 30 years. Despite existing efforts, global CO2 emissions and raw material use levels continue to grow. This seems to suggest the need for more systemic approaches in environmental policy. Our paper contributes modelling results to assess the potential of efficiency improvements to achieve absolute decoupling of global raw material use and environmental impacts from economic growth. We apply the global, dynamic MRIO model GINFORS to simulate potential...

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