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...

    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...

    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:...

    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)

    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.

    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...

    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...

    Bioenergy and europes quest for a circular economy

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Lisa Benedetti

    Source: 

    Eubioenergy

    Year: 

    2015

    "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?" (...

    Ensuring bioenergy comes clean in the Clean Energy Package

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Sini Eräjää, Hanna Aho, Laura Buffet

    Source: 

    BirdLife Europe, Fern, Transport & Environment

    Year: 

    2017

    "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...

    The Litte Book of Biofuels

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    BirdLife International, European Environmental Bureau (EEB), Transport & Environment (T&E)

    Year: 

    2014

    "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...

    Biofuels and Bioproducts from Wet and Gaseous Waste Streams: Challenges and Opportunities

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    US Department of Energy

    Year: 

    2017

    "This report draws together activities related to wet and gaseous waste feedstocks into a single document. It enables an amplified focus on feedstocks in the relevant technology and potential markets category. Also, this report helps to inform and support ongoing wet and gaseous resource recovery activities in the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and in the broader federal space. Historically, the office has identified wet and gaseous waste feedstocks as potentially advantageous, but has not pursued them with a sustained focus. This document seeks to position these waste streams...

    2015 Bioenergy Market Report

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Ethan Warner, Kristi Moriarty, John Lewis, Anelia Milbrandt, Amy Schwab

    Source: 

    US Department of Energy

    Year: 

    2017

    "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...

    Demonstration and Deployment Strategy Workshop: Summary

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Energetics Incorporated

    Source: 

    US Department of Energy

    Year: 

    2014

    "This report is based on the proceedings of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) Demonstration and Deployment (D&D) Strategy Workshop, held on March 12–13, 2014, at Argonne National Laboratory. The workshop gathered stakeholders from industry, academia, national laboratories, and government to discuss the issues and potential for demonstration and deployment activities to pave the way for large-scale production of cost-competitive, renewable fuels from biomass resources. The ideas provided here represent a snapshot of the perspectives and ideas generated...