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...

    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...

    Towards circular economy implementation: a comprehensive review in context of manufacturing industry

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Michael Lieder, Amir Rashid

    Source: 

    Department of Production Engineering, KTH Royal Institute of Technology

    Year: 

    2015

    This review paper aims to analyse the research landscape and context of circular economy research so far, explore the perspective on it that combines aspects of resources scarcity, environmental impact and economic benefits, and develop a framework mainly for the manufacturing industry, based on these aspects.

    Mastering Circular Business with the Value Hill

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Circle Economy

    Source: 

    Circle Economy, Sustainable Finance Lab, Nuovolente, TU Delft

    Year: 

    2016

    This paper targets businesses who aspire to transition to a more circular model. The paper advocates for and describes a circular business model (or rather collection of business models) and tran-sition tool called the Value Hill. The value hill provides businesses with detailed information regarding how to best transition to a circular model as well as nuanced descriptions of best practice options. A key component of the Value hill is Network Organization which is an overarching concept/model/tool that encourages increased efficiency and circularity through collaborative partnerships and...

    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)

    Diversifying and de-growing the circular economy: Radical social transformation in a resource-scarce world

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Kersty Hobson, Nicholas Lynch

    Source: 

    Cardiff University, The University of Oxford

    Year: 

    2016

    "Programmes and policies for a Circular Economy (CE) are fast becoming key to regional and international plans for creating sustainable futures. Framed as a technologically driven and economically profitable vision of continued growth in a resource scarce world, the CE has of late been taken up by the European Commission and global business leaders alike. However, within CE debates and documentation, little is said about the social and political implications of such transformative agendas. Whilst CE proponents claim their agenda is ‘radical’, this paper outlines its inability to address...

    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...

    Business Model Innovation in a Circular Economy Reasons for Non-Acceptance of Circular Business Models

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Patrick Planing

    Source: 

    Hochschule Pforzheim University

    Year: 

    2016

    "The overall aim of this paper is to develop a new conceptual framework for business model innovation in a circular economy and to explore the reasons for consumer non-adoption of business models in this context." (p. 1)

    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...

    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...

    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...

    Circular by design: Products in the circular economy

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Mieke De Schoenmakere, Jeroen Gillabel

    Source: 

    EEA

    Year: 

    2017

    "This report explores the circular economy from a product perspective, applying a systemic approach and transition theory. Drivers of product design and usage are discussed in the context of emerging consumption trends and business models. For governance to be effective, it has to address the product life-cycle and the societal context determining it. Indicators and assessment tools will be needed to fill the current data and knowledge gaps." (p. 6)

    Products that go round: Exploring product life extension through design

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Conny Bakker, Feng Wang, Jaco Huisman, Marcel den Hollander

    Source: 

    Delft University of Technology, United Nations University

    Year: 

    2014

    "Product lifespans of electric and electronic products are in decline, with detrimental environmental consequences. This research maps the environmental impacts of refrigerators and laptops against their increasing energy efficiency over time, and finds that product life extension is the preferred strategy in both cases: refrigerators bought in 2011 should be used for 20 years instead of 14, and laptops for at least 7 years instead of 4. Designers however lack expertise to design for product life extension (through longer product life, refurbishment, remanufacturing) and product recycling...

    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...

    Redefining Industrial Symbiosis

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    D.R. Lombardi, P. Laybourn

    Source: 

    Year: 

    2012

    "The most commonly cited definition of industrial symbiosis (IS), by Chertow (2000), has served well to foster discussion and research for more than a decade. The definition reflected the state of research and practice at the time; as both have advanced, some terms have been interpreted in substantially different ways. In this article we analyze those generally used terms for their connection to the ecological metaphor that is the root of industrial ecology, and their varied interpretations in IS research and practice over time. We then propose an updated definition intended to communicate...

    From an eco-industrial park towards an eco-city: a case study in Suzhou, China

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Chang Yu, Gerard P.J. Dijkema, Martin de Jong, Han Shi

    Source: 

    Year: 

    2015

    "As eco-industrial park policies have been in place for years, many mature eco-industrial parks tend to acquire more than just industrial functions and become new urban districts. We investigated this development and conducted empirical research in Suzhou Industrial Park, to obtain insight in how a mature eco-industrial park influences if not leverages the development of an eco-city. To this end we inventoried and analyzed policy instruments and environmental infrastructures and deduced how in Suzhou Industrial Park these led to improved energy efficiency, reduced pollution and contributed...

    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...

    Opportunities and limits of recycling: A dynamic-model-based analysis

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Source: 

    Year: 

    2012

    "Ensuring continued resource availability and material flow into sustainable products requires well-designed systems that capture these resources from end-of-life (EOL) products and recycle them into new applications. Understanding the impact
    of product design and recycling system performance on this closure of material cycles requires comprehensive approaches consistent with basic principles, as presented in this article." (p. 347)

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