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.
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...
Roberto Zoboli, Susanna Paleari, Giovanni Marin, Massimiliano Mazzanti, Francesco Nicolli, Anna Montini, Valeria Miceli, Stefan Speck
This report wants to contribute to a better understanding of the green economy and all the major forces and policies involved. It predominantly focuses on improving resource efficiency from a macro-economic perspective, for which eco-innovation is a primary enabling factor. However, the spread of technologies derived from eco-innovation often is obstructed by several barriers, such as finance, knowledge, costs, markets etc. Fiscal reforms, like environmental taxes and emission trading schemes are also crucial major enabling factors, but to what extent depends on their design (rebound...
"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...
Industrial Symbiosis (IS) is a building block of the Circular Economy, a means to sustainable growth increasing resource efficiency and SMEs competitiveness and resiliency (COM(2014) 398 final/2). Despite the acknowledged advantages, IS is not yet fully widespread. The challenge TRIS is facing is to enable a systemic uptake of IS in 5 European regions, supporting policy makers to increase the competitiveness of their SMEs by introducing IS practices. To do so, the TRIS consortium will: Identify facilitating elements and obstacles and embed them in (or remove them from) the appropriate...
SYMBI General objective is to empower regions to build sustainable economies, resilient to en-vironmental pressures and climate change. The project will support the implementation of policy instruments and measures for the diffusion of industrial symbiosis, to add value, reduce production costs and relieve environmental pressures through increased resource efficiency and green house gas emissions. "SYMBI aims at supporting the transition towards a resource-efficient economy through industrial symbiosis, establishing territorial synergies to manage waste and exchange energy & by-...
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University
PSS companies face a variety of barriers to entry, government policy action can be taken to mitigate these barriers. However, actions taken must ensure that the PSS companies that are supported are environmentally sustainable. To do this, environmental policies should be implemented by governments that indirectly benefit sustainable PSS companies that further sustainable practices. These policies include pricing mechanisms, information dissemination, reductions of transaction costs, support of environmental research efforts, and promotion of case studies. The Swedish EPA successfully...
Eindhoven university of technology, School of Innovation Sciences
European markets are realtively imbalanced in regard to solar consumption, with Germany and Italy dominating the industry. Moreover, solar as a service or third party owned solar has yet to be as prominent in Europe as in the United States. In the United States changes in legislation allowed for the proliferation of the industry. Advantages of TPO solar companies is that initial investment costs are steeply reduced and the technological challenges of installation become a non-issue when left to a company. These act as major incentives and advantages to buy in. In the Netherlands some small...
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.
Zhi Sun, Yanping Xiao, Hanneke Agterhuis, Jilt Sietsma, Yongxiang Yang
Journal of Cleaner Production
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...
Federica Cucchiella, Idiano D'Adamo, S.C.Lenny Koh, Paolo Rosa
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Waste from Electric and Electronic Equipments (WEEEs) is currently considered to be one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world, with an estimated growth rate going from 3% up to 5% per year. The recycling of Electric or electronic waste (E-waste) products could allow the diminishing use of virgin resources in manufacturing and, consequently, it could contribute in reducing the environmental pollution. Given that EU is trying, since the last two decades, to develop a circular economy based on the exploitation of resources recovered by wastes, a comprehensive framework supporting...
Koen Binnemans, Peter Tom Jones, Bart Blanpain, Tom Van Gerven, Yongxiang Yang, Allan Walton, Matt-hias Buchert
Journal of Cleaner Production
The rare-earth elements (REEs) are becoming increasingly important in the transition to a green economy, due to their essential role in permanent magnets, lamp phosphors, catalysts, rechargeable batteries etc. With China presently producing more than 90% of the global REE output and its increasingly tight export quota, the rest of the world is confronted with a REE supply risk. Mining companies are now actively seeking new exploitable REE deposits while some old mines are being reopened. Because of the absence of economical and/or operational primary deposits on their territory, many...
Megan P. O'Connor, Julie B. Zimmerman, Paul T. Anastas, and Desiree L. Plata
ACS Sustainable Che. Eng.
Rapid innovation in the field of electronic technologies through the use of rare earth and specialty elements (RESE) has made the electronics industry one of the most rapidly evolving industries to date. However, innovations to har-vest these same materials from complex waste streams have not kept pace, thus leading to an unsustainable material supply chain reliant on the mining of increasingly difficult-to-extract ores. Here, we aim to provide a strategy to mitigate these challenges, identifying the technical research and development needed to further sustainable electronics through Green...
The issues associated with the supply of rare-earth metals are a vivid reminder to all of us that natural resources are limited. Japan's Element Strategy Initiative is a good example of a long-term strategy towards the sustainable use of scarce elements.
"This report reviews briefly the historical criteria for critical raw materials currently under review by the Commission and the Joint Research Centre (JRC), and notes that many critical materials still have very low recycling rates which increases the demand for virgin materials and therefore reduces lifetime of supply. EASAC is in broad agreement with the criteria that the Commission proposes to apply in selecting critical materials for the new list in 2017 but notes that environmental impacts of extraction of raw materials are substantial and should be considered in the criticality...
"This report provides a quantative analysis of different resource productivity (RP) targets for the EU. Resource productivity in this study is defined as GDP per unit of raw material consumption (RMC), instead of the usual GDP per unit of domestic material consumption (DMC). The RMC-based indicator adjusts the weight of materials recorded at border crossings so that they are counted as if they were produced domestically." (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/enveco/resource_efficiency/pdf/RMC.pdf)
"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?" (...
"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...
BirdLife International, European Environmental Bureau (EEB), Transport & Environment (T&E)
"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...
Ethan Warner, Kristi Moriarty, John Lewis, Anelia Milbrandt, Amy Schwab
US Department of Energy
"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...
Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
"This study assesses the business environment affecting the collaborative economy across six themes (accommodation, transport, finance, public administration, business support and alignment) in the 28 EU Member States. The study has established indicators to measure the main features affecting the development of the collaborative economy. It has developed a “Collaborative Economy Index” to benchmark the business environment. Based on the Index results, the study puts forward suggestions for the further development of the collaborative economy in the EU. The study concludes that there is no...