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...

    Circular Economy: Measuring innovation in product chains

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    José Potting, Marko Hekkert, Ernst Worrell, Aldert Hanemaaijer

    Source: 

    PBL

    Year: 

    2016

    This Dutch study aims to explore how the transition to a circular economy can be measured in the production chain and focuses on asking relevant policy questions for plastic packaging (bottles and other plastic packaging) and electrical devices (washing machines and dryers, and fridges and freezers). However, it does not provide corresponding indicators.

    Three types of CE-transitions are identified:
    • CE-transitions that place the development of a specific, radical new technology central
    • CE-transitions that place socio-economic change central
    • CE-transitions...

    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 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...

    Resource efficiency in Europe - Policies and approaches in 31 EEA member and cooperating countries

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Paweł Kaźmierczyk, Mikkel Stenbæk Hansen, Jens Günther, David McKinnon, Christian Loewe, Fredrik Lingvall, Tamas Kristof Kallay, Jozsef Szlezak, Bettina Bahn-Walkowiak, Marton Herczeg, Dominic Wittmer

    Source: 

    EEA

    Year: 

    2011

    "This report provides an overview of resource efficiency policies and instruments in 31 member and cooperating countries of the EEA’s Eionet network. A detailed survey was conducted during the first half of 2011 to collect, analyse and disseminate information about national experiences in developing and implementing resource efficiency policies, with the goal to facilitate the sharing of experiences and good practice. The report reviews national approaches to resource efficiency and explores similarities and differences in policies, strategies, indicators and targets, policy drivers and...

    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...)

    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...

    SteamBio

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2015

    SteamBio is an industry-research partnership supported by the EC Horizon 2020 Programme and SPIRE public private partnership, launched on 1st February 2015. SteamBio will demonstrate in fields and forests an innovative mobile superheated steam process. This process will convert agro-forestry residues into stable feedstock for biochemical and bioenergy uses. SteamBio involves the development of decentralised business models to enable widespread flexible deployment in rural areas across Europe. The successful project will create local jobs and generate local wealth. It will also contribute...

    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...

    ZERO BRINE

    Type of evidence: 

    Year: 

    2017

    "This project aims to facilitate the implementation of the Circular Economy package and the SPIRE Roadmap in various process industries by developing the necessary concepts, technological solutions and business models to re-design the value and supply chains of minerals (including magnesium) and water, while dealing with present organic compounds in a way that allows their subsequent recovery. This is achieved by demonstrating new configurations to recover these resources from saline impaired effluents (brines) generated by process industry, while eliminating wastewater discharge and...

    Cascading use of biomass: opportunities and obstacles in EU policies

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Sini Eräjää

    Source: 

    BirdLife and European Environmental Bureau

    Year: 

    2015

    BirdLife Europe has been intensively working to highlight the environmental risks of using crops grown on agricultural land for fuel instead of food, resulting in significant emissions from indirect land use change (ILUC). This work resulted in the EU to limit the use of food based biofuels in the transport sector.  

    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...

    Bioenergy: how much can we expect for 2050?

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Helmut Haberl, Karl-Heinz Erb, Fridolin Krausmann, Steve Running, Timothy D Searchinger and W Kolby Smith

    Source: 

    ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS

    Year: 

    2013

    "Estimates of global primary bioenergy potentials in the literature span almost three orders of magnitude. We narrow that range by discussing biophysical constraints on bioenergy potentials resulting from plant growth (NPP) and its current human use. In the last 30 years, terrestrial NPP was almost constant near 54 PgC yr−1, despite massive efforts to increase yields in agriculture and forestry. The global human appropriation of terrestrial plant production has doubled in the last century. We estimate the maximum physical potential of the world's total land area outside croplands,...

    Bioenergy and europes quest for a circular economy

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Lisa Benedetti

    Source: 

    Eubioenergy

    Year: 

    2015

    "Europe is on the move to become a ‘circular economy’ which is more competitive and resource efficient. The goal is a more circular flow of materials and energy so that Europeans use and consume in a way that creates minimal waste and puts less pressure on natural resources on this continent and other parts of the world. Sounds like a common sense plan…right? Yes, but one important question arises. Why isn’t the Commission including different types of biomass (biological material) as part of the circular economy equation?" (...

    Ensuring bioenergy comes clean in the Clean Energy Package

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Sini Eräjää, Hanna Aho, Laura Buffet

    Source: 

    BirdLife Europe, Fern, Transport & Environment

    Year: 

    2017

    "European climate and energy policies are built on the myth that all bioenergy - being a renewable energy source - is good for the climate and good for the environment. As the use of bioenergy in the EU is expected to more than double by 2020 compared to 2005, it's becoming clear that bioenergy is not the clean dream we all hoped it would be. In some cases it can even increase CO2 emissions (compared to fossil fuels) and in numerous instances it threatens nature by putting additional pressure on already burdened agricultural land and forests. As the demand for bioenergy grows (pushed by...

    The Litte Book of Biofuels

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    BirdLife International, European Environmental Bureau (EEB), Transport & Environment (T&E)

    Year: 

    2014

    "With the launch of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) in 2009, Europe’s demand for biofuels has skyrocketed. To meet this new demand, the global production of biofuels has also increased significantly. In fact, did you know that every car in Europe uses a blend of biofuels? That’s how common this product has become. Biofuels use vegetable oils, cereals, sugars and waste fats – mainly extracted from rapeseed, soy, palm trees, corn and wheat – to create energy. Because biofuels are derived from plant products, any increase or decrease in their use has a direct impact on agriculture...

    2015 Bioenergy Market Report

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Ethan Warner, Kristi Moriarty, John Lewis, Anelia Milbrandt, Amy Schwab

    Source: 

    US Department of Energy

    Year: 

    2017

    "This report provides a status of the markets and technology development involved in growing a domestic bioenergy economy. It compiles and integrates information to provide a snapshot of the current state and historical trends influencing the development of bioenergy markets. This information is intended for policy-makers as well as technology developers and investors tracking bioenergy developments. It also highlights some of the key energy and regulatory drivers of bioenergy markets. This report is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO...

    Biodiesel produced by waste cooking oil: Review of recycling modes in China, the US and Japan

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Huiming Zhang, U.AytunOzturk, QunweiWang, Zengyao Zhao

    Source: 

    Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews

    Year: 

    2014

    "Waste cooking oil to biodiesel conversion efficiency depends on the recycling mode that is being practiced. The recycling modes in China, the US and Japan can be placed in two categories: third party take-back (TPT) and the biodiesel enterprise take-back (BET). We review the operation mechanisms of theses modes, their advantages and disadvantages in three countries and compare them using recycling costs and profits of biodiesel enterprises, subsidies for manufacturers, recycling rates, degree of administrative control, technical support and incentive mechanisms provided for the...

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