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...

    The history and current applications of the circular economy concept

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    K. Winans, A. Kendall, H. Deng

    Source: 

    University of California

    Year: 

    2017

    "The challenges of balancing industrial development, environmental and human health, and economic growth in China and elsewhere in the world are drivers for recent resource use and low-carbon development strategies that include the application of the circular economy (CE) concept. A central theme of the CE concept is the valuation of materials within a closed-looped system with the aim to allow for natural resource use while reducing pollution or avoiding resource constraints and sustaining economic growth. The objectives of this study are (1) to review the history of the CE concept to...

    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...

    INSPIREWATER

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2015

    INSPIREWATER is an EU funded project which will enable process industry companies to implement sustainable water treatment solutions as part of a corporate sustainability strategy. This will be achieved via the development, demonstration and exploitation of innovative, eco-efficient technologies which will support sustainable water resources management. INSPIREWATER technologies will increase water and resource efficiency by 20-30% in the process industry. The project will focus initially on the steel and chemical industries, with the long-term goal of applying the technologies across...

    MAESTRI

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2017

    The MAESTRI project aims to advance the sustainability of European manufacturing and process industries. This is done by providing a management system in the form of a flexible and scalable platform, and to guide and simplify the implementation of an innovative approach, the Total Efficiency Framework. The overall aim of this framework is to encourage a culture of improvement within process industries by assisting the decision-making process, supporting the development of improvement strategies and helping define the priorities to improve the company's environmental and economic...

    PRODIAS

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2015

    As outlined in the Roadmap of the EU's SPIRE PPP (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency), "the European process industry represents the roots of the European economy by transforming raw materials into intermediate and end-user products". What all sectors of the process industry have in common is that they are highly dependent on resources (such as energy, raw materials and water) for their production. As a consequence, the process industry is striving for long-term sustainability and efficiency in order to ensure competitiveness. The SPIRE Roadmap lists a...

    STYLE

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2015

    Public and private sector funding is regularly invested to develop new technologies and/or modify processes/products to bring resource and energy efficiency improvements. However, in order for EU stakeholders and industry to see the true value of these new technologies and modifica-tions, and make informed decisions surrounding their adoption, a consistent approach is needed to assess the sustainability impact across the full value chain. This is particularly challenging when it comes to assessing sustainability across sector boundaries, or in a data lean environment. For many years, the...

    CESME

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Interreg Europe

    Year: 

    2017

    EU 2020 highlights that the EU and Member States should enable SMEs to turn environmental challenges into opportunities. Green growth can offer significant benefits, however as stated in the Small Business Act (EP 2014/2209 INI) policy makers need to fully understand the potential of the green economy, whilst being aware of the barriers that SMEs face regarding the greening of their products, production processes, business practices and services. The circular economy is a key concept of the green economy, based on optimising systems rather than components, away from 'Resource to Waste' to...

    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...

    COCOP

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2017

    The need: process industry faces a strong need to increase product quality and reduce operating costs and environmental footprint. A complex plant comprises continuous and/or batch unit pro-cesses. The plant's complexity stems from its dynamic properties, so a plant-wide monitoring and control is a requirement for achieving economically and environmentally efficient operation. The vision: complex process industry plants will be optimally run by the operators with the guidance of a coordinating, real-time optimisation system. The objective: to enable plant-wide monitoring and control by...

    RESYNTEX

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    H2020

    Year: 

    2017

    RESYNTEX is a research project which aims to create a new circular economy concept for the textile and chemical industries. Using industrial symbiosis, it aims to produce secondary raw materials from unwearable textile waste. Core Project Aims: Design a complete value chain from textile waste collection through to the generation of new feedstock for chemicals and textiles; Improve collection approaches while increasing public awareness of textile waste and social involvement; Enable traceability of waste using data aggregation. The collected data will evaluate the performance of the new...

    Opportunities to tackle Britain's labour market challenges through growth in the circular economy

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Julian Morgan, Peter Mitchell

    Source: 

    WRAP, Green Alliance

    Year: 

    2015

    "Britain faces huge economic challenges in its use of labour and scarce natural resources. Although unemployment is now falling, the risk of being out of work is higher in some regions and for some types of occupations. While Britain has significantly increased its resource efficiency in recent years, supply risks in an increasingly competitive global economy mean that we need to get better at using natural resources. The analysis in this study shows that these challenges are linked, as improving our resource efficiency can make a valuable contribution to improving Britain’s labour market...

    Crunch the can or throw the bottle? Effect of "bottle deposit laws" and municipal recycling programs

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Benjamin Campbell, Hayk Khachatryan, Bridget Behe, Charles Hall, Jennifer Dennis

    Year: 

    2016

    "Although there is growing public awareness about environmental issues, incentive mechanisms leading to individual pro-environmental behaviors remain less investigated. This article examines the impact of bottle deposit laws (BDL), municipal recycling programs (MRP), and the ease of municipal recycling on recycling frequency for numerous products. An online survey of U.S. and Canadian households was conducted to collect data about individuals’ recycling practices and perceptions. We contracted an online survey company, Global Market Insite (GMI), to recruit panelists within their database...

    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...

    Towards Sustainable Plastic Recycling in India - Experiences from the field

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Arthur Haarman

    Year: 

    2015

    "This report was prepared for the project "Managing hazardous additives in plastic reycycling in India". This project is part of the Sustainable Recycling Industries programme (SRI), funded by the Swiss State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO) and jointly implemented by the Institute for Materials Science & Technology (Empa), the World Resources Forum (WRF) and ecoinvent." (p. 1)

    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." (...

    Employment and the circular economy job creation through resource efficiency in London

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Peter Mitchell

    Year: 

    2015

    "Several city leagues confirm that London is the best big city to live in, to work in, and to visit – renowned for its culture, diversity, innovation and leading position in sectors such as finance and professional services. But it also has a vibrant green economy, with exceptional skills in renewable energy, carbon finance and sustainable building technologies. Indeed, a 2013 report concluded that London’s Low Carbon Environmental Goods and Services1 sector now contributes over £25.4bn to the economy, with strong growth of over 5% year on year. Three possible plausible futures to 2030 for...

    Tracking the Flow of Resources in Electronic Waste - The Case of End-of-Life Computer Hard Disk Drives

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Komal Habib, Keshav Parajuly, and Henrik Wenzel

    Source: 

    Environ. Sci. Technol.

    Year: 

    2015

    Recovery of resources, in particular, metals, from waste flows is widely seen as a prioritized option to reduce their potential supply constraints in the future. The current waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) treatment system is more focused on bulk metals, where the recycling rate of specialty metals, such as rare earths, is negligible compared to their increasing use in modern products, such as electronics. This study investigates the challenges in recovering these resources in the existing WEEE treatment system. It is illustrated by following the material flows of...

    Recycling of metals from urban mines- a strategic evaluation

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Zhi Sun, Yanping Xiao, Hanneke Agterhuis, Jilt Sietsma, Yongxiang Yang

    Source: 

    Journal of Cleaner Production

    Year: 

    2015

    Urban mining has attracted increasing attention as a research topic, owing to the high growth rate, environmental issues, and market potential of waste generated in urban areas. Metal recovery from such waste has become increasingly important especially in accordance with the concept of metal criticality. This study develops a model by evaluating various types of urban waste in order to understand the criticality of these waste streams and determine their potential for metal recovery. Two factors, i.e. the resource index and technology index, are defined and assessed through a systematic...

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