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...

    Circular economy: a commentary from the perspectives of the natural and social sciences

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    European Academies Science Advisory Council

    Source: 

    EASAC

    Year: 

    2015

    This commentary by the EASAC primarily examines the proposed benefits and potential enabling policies of the circular economy. A broad range of sources is used to recognize gaps and inadequacies in proposed benefits and policies in order to foster a substantial discussion among stakeholders as to how to proceed in the transition process. The study also examines barriers and indicators and comments on their nature and efficacy respectively. Furthermore, the commentary provides advice regarding avoidance of barriers and the use of proper indicators.

    Resource-efficient green economy and EU policies

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Roberto Zoboli, Susanna Paleari, Giovanni Marin, Massimiliano Mazzanti, Francesco Nicolli, Anna Montini, Valeria Miceli, Stefan Speck

    Source: 

    EEA

    Year: 

    2014

    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...

    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...

    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...

    MEASURE

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2015

    The Horizon 2020 SPIRE Public Private Partnership goals of the European Commission have set a new challenge for the European process industry. Aiming for a green economy being energy and resource efficient, but also internationally competitive and socially responsible, cross-sectorial cooperation along the value chain is strongly encouraged. The vision of industrial symbioses also forces practitioners in sustainability assessment to rethink their often sector-specific toolboxes. Consequently, current methods for sustainability assessment including in-depth life cycle based methods may need...

    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)

    Waste to Wealth: The Circular Economy Advantage

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Jakob Rutqvist, Peter Lacy

    Year: 

    2015

    "Waste to wealth proves that 'green' and 'growth' need not to be binary alternatives. The book examines five new business models that provide circular growth from deploying sustainable resources to the sharing economy before setting out what business leaders need to do to implement the models succesfully." (https://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9781137530684)

    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...

    FUDIPO

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Erik Dahlquist

    Source: 

    European Commission

    Year: 

    2017

    "FUDIPO is a project funded by the European Commission under the H2020 programme, SPIRE-02-2016 topic: "Plant-wide monitoring and control of data-intensive processes". To face this topic, FUDIPO will develop and test an integrated set of methods combining mathematical modelling and simulation with experiments in pilot and full-scale facilities. This will take place within a strong consortium of industries (also SMEs), the main users of the developed toolbox, suppliers (also SMEs) that will focus primarily on developing the tools and academic partners deepening the underlying theory (...

    The Transfer and Application of Product System Services: from academia to UK manufacturing firms

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    M.B. Cook; T.A. Bhamra; M. Lemon

    Source: 

    Cranfield University; Loughborough University

    Year: 

    2006

    The article seeks to define the concept of Product Service Systems (PSS) and then explain its economic, environmental, and other real world impacts. The main purpose of the piece is to explain these concepts through describing the application of the PSS to a real world scenario in the manufacturing sector in the UK

    Drivers and barriers for shifting towards more service oriented businesses: Analysis of the PSS field and contributions from Sweden

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Oksana Mont

    Source: 

    The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University

    Year: 

    2002

    The article provides some theoretical definitions of PSS and describes barriers and drivers to engaging in PSS economies.

    The role of public policy in advancement of product service systems

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    O. Mont, T. Lindhqvist

    Source: 

    The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University

    Year: 

    2003

    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...

    Spreading the rooftop revolution: What policies enable solar-as-a-service

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Harold Overholm

    Source: 

    University of Cambridge Institute for Manfacturing

    Year: 

    2015

    Overholm explains the concept of third party ownership solar firms, where customers pay for solar as a service. Firms maintain ownership of panels, maintain them, install them, and navigate the legal and logistical obstacles of individual renewable energy, while customers pay a contractual fee. Barriers to entry as well as supportive and constricting policies are explained.

    Breakthrough without subsidies? PV business model experiments in the Netherlands

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    J.C.C.M. Huijben; G.P.J. Verbong

    Source: 

    Eindhoven university of technology, School of Innovation Sciences

    Year: 

    2013

    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...

    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...

    A Strategy for Material Supply Chain Sustainability: Enabling a Circular Economy in the Electronics Industry through Green Engineering

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Megan P. O'Connor, Julie B. Zimmerman, Paul T. Anastas, and Desiree L. Plata...

    Source: 

    ACS Sustainable Che. Eng.

    Year: 

    2016

    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...

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