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.
Almut Reichel, Mieke De Schoenmakere, Jeroen Gillabel
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...
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...
Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment
Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment
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...
The EEB’s report utilized a baseline scenario created by projections related to existing waste policy. They expanded upon this baseline by proposing policy adjustments in the form of new formulations and altered target setting, which they conclude could result in substantial positive environmental, social, and economic impacts. The report also emphasizes a strong belief in the success of in-creased regulatory policy moving forward.
"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...
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...
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...
"The main purpose of this report is to broadly explore the potential for a significant increase in resource efficiency and to specifically assess what the main benefits for society would be looking at carbon emissions and employment in particular. We are using the Dutch, Finnish, French, Spanish and Swedish economies as test cases." (p. 5)
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
"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...
"Various activities address the WEEE value chain in order to reduce waste generation and enhance the sustainable resource management through use of recycled materials instead of their virgin counterparts. While the system for metals recycling is already well established, the rising volumes of waste plastics point to stalemates in the current plastics economy, which hamper its shift to a more circular model. Although there are individual efforts to improve the collection and recycling of WEEE plastics, the plastics value chain is still too fragmented and WEEE recycled plastics seem...
"CIRC-PACK project aims at more sustainable, efficient, competitive, less fossil fuel dependence, integrated and interconnected plastic packaging value chain. To this end, three case studies will work in developing, testing and validating better system-wide economic and environmental outcomes by i) decoupling the chain from fossil feedstocks, (ii) reducing the negative environmental impact of plastic packaging; and (iii) creating an effective after-use plastics economy. All in all, the work will be supported by non-technological analysis and advanced methodological analysis (including...
Construction accounts for 50% of all extracted material use in the EU. The European Commission calls for a further strengthening of resource efficiency in buildings and construction by considering the lifetime costs of a building rather than just the initial costs and also better infrastructure planning. They have set the 2020 milestone to have the majority of rennovation and constuction standards to be of high efficiency standards.
Marjolein de Ridder, Sijbren de Jong, Joshua Polchar, Stephanie Lingemann
"The report aims primarily to raise awareness within Europe that the EU is almost entirely dependent on imported phosphate rock from the rest of the world and consequently vulnerable to disruptions in the supply of this important commodity. This means that the European food security and agricultural sector are at risk. The report formulates several perspectives for action on how the EU could deal with developments on the phosphate rock market and reduce its vulnerability to potential shocks." (p. 18)
"Domestic wastewater (WW) is an important carrier of nutrients usually wasted away by current decentralised WW treatments (WWT). Run4Life proposes an alternative strategy for improving nutrient recovery rates and material qualities, based on a decentralised treatment of segregated black water (BW), kitchen waste and grey water combining existing WWT with innovative ultra-low water flushing vacuum toilets for concentrating BW, hyper-thermophilic anaerobic digestion as one-step process for fertilisers production and bio-electrochemical systems for nitrogen recovery. It is foreseen up to 100...
"Although most bioenergy is produced by burning agricultural and forestry biomass, it is also generated by burning the organic parts of municipal solid waste, biowaste or urban biomass. This includes food waste from restaurants, households, farmers markets, gardens, textiles, clothing, paper and other materials of organic origin. But have you ever tried to fuel a bonfire with a salad? Probably not, so this may not be the most efficient use of urban biowaste." (https://www.zerowasteeurope.eu/...
National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bio-products
"The National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts (NAABB), an algal biofuels research consortium, was formed to specifically address the objectives set forth by the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (DOE-EERE), Office of Biomass Programs (now called the Bioenergy Technologies Office, BETO), under the funding opportunity announcement DE-FOA-0000123, “Development of Algal/Advanced Biofuels Consortia”. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided the funds for this effort. In this announcement DOE sought consortia that would “...