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.

    MAESTRI

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2017

    The MAESTRI project aims to advance the sustainability of European manufacturing and process industries. This is done by providing a management system in the form of a flexible and scalable platform, and to guide and simplify the implementation of an innovative approach, the Total Efficiency Framework. The overall aim of this framework is to encourage a culture of improvement within process industries by assisting the decision-making process, supporting the development of improvement strategies and helping define the priorities to improve the company's environmental and economic...

    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...

    SAMT

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2015

    The SAMT project (2015-2016) has now reached completion. The project focused on increasing integration of sustainability assessment methods in decision making by reviewing and making recommendations about the most potential methods, tools, and indicators for evaluating sustainability in the process industry. Final results from the SAMT project include a roadmap and an implementation plan towards the SAMT vision 2030 built together with industry and research organisations: "Sustainability assessment provides additional value for industrial decision-making. Related methods are widely...

    STYLE

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2015

    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...

    RETRACE

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Interreg Europe

    Year: 

    2017

    RETRACE aims at promoting systemic design as a method allowing local and regional policies move towards a circular economy when waste from one productive process becomes input in another, preventing waste being released into the environment. RETRACE addresses the EU challenge of transitioning towards a Circular Economy following the priorities set up by the "Flagship Initiative for a Resource-efficient Europe" for a shift towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon economy to achieve sustainable growth as enshrined in Europe 2020 strategy and the EC Communication "Towards a circular economy:...

    TRIS

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Interreg Europe

    Year: 

    2017

    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

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Interreg Europe

    Year: 

    2017

    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-...

    INTHERWASTE

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Interreg Europe

    Year: 

    2017

    The aim of INTHERWASTE is to have European Heritage Cities exchange experiences and policies for efficient and sustainable management of municipal waste and in order to contribute through mutual capacity-building, policy learning and drafting action plans - to the environmental performance of waste management in EU cities.The capacity of the staff of involved authorities to design and implement policies and measures in the waste field and governance in the same field are expected to be improved, too. Solutions and policies proved feasible in INTHERWASTE are believed to be transferable to...

    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)

    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.

    Product services for a resource efficient and circular economy--a review

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Arnold Tucker

    Source: 

    Natherlands Organisation for Applied Sceintific Research TNO; Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Institute of Environemental Sciences, Leiden University

    Year: 

    2013

    "Since the 1990s, Product Service Systems (PSS) have been heralded as one of the most effective instruments for moving society towards a resource-efficient, circular economy and creating a much-needed ‘resource revolution’. This paper reviews the literature on PSS in the last decade and compares the findings with those from an earlier review in this journal in 2006. Close to 300 relevant papers were identified, over 140 of which have been referenced in this review. Research in the field of PSS has become more prolific, with the output of refereed papers quadrupling since 2000, while on...

    Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    European Commission

    Year: 

    2011

    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.

    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...

    Recycling of metals from urban mines- a strategic evaluation

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Zhi Sun, Yanping Xiao, Hanneke Agterhuis, Jilt Sietsma, Yongxiang Yang

    Source: 

    Journal of Cleaner Production

    Year: 

    2015

    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...

    Recycling of rare earths: a critical review

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Koen Binnemans, Peter Tom Jones, Bart Blanpain, Tom Van Gerven, Yongxiang Yang, Allan Walton, Matt-hias Buchert

    Source: 

    Journal of Cleaner Production

    Year: 

    2013

    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...

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