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.
Almut Reichel, Mieke De Schoenmakere, Jeroen Gillabel
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...
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...
"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...
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...
"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)
Lead enjoys one of the highest recycling rates of all materials in common use today. This is a result of its fundamental properties, good design and the ways in which it is used, which make lead-based products easily identifiable and economic to collect and recycle. As a result, over half of the lead produced and used each year throughout the world has been used before in other products. What is more, because lead is a naturally occurring element, the quality of the recycled lead is identical to that of primary metal from mining. The use of lead has evolved over the years, with a...
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...
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.
The project, funded in the frame of Horizon 2020 TOPIC SPIRE-07-2015, will realize a breakthrough innovation in the field of Recovery Technologies for Metals and other Minerals. It will make available Rare Earth elements and Rare Earth alloys for magnet production by developing, for the first time at industrial scale, an efficient and cost effective method of extraction and a direct production route for Rare Earth Alloys which will be achieved through in-process and End-of-Life permanent magnets as well as Ni metal hydride battery waste.
REMAGHIC is focused on contributing to Europe's rare earth recovery and magnesium recycling technologies, improving the efficiencies of these processes and advancing the technology readiness levels for a new generation of industrial processes that will produce new low cost competitive alloys for a wide variety of sectors across Europe's manufacturing value chain. The project motivation lies on the fact that magnesium alloys can offer a significant weight reduction when compared to aluminium alloys. Weight reduction is a cross sectorial key design driver, if a superior energy absorption and...
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...
"Sustainable development is firmly anchored in the European Treaties and has been at the heart of European policy for a long time. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015, gives a new impetus to global efforts for achieving sustainable development. The EU is fully committed to playing an active role to maximise progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. This publication marks the beginning of Eurostat’s regular monitoring of progress towards the SDGs in an EU context. The...
"CEC is thrilled by the participation, knowledge and network built through the Circular Economy Mapping Week held in over 65 cities worldwide during this past week [5th – 11th February 2018]. During this week, CEC Organizers voluntarily set up group sessions to map the circular initiatives in their cities. Workshops took place in 65+ cities, including Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Madrid, Montreal, New York, London, São Paulo, Singapore and Taipei.
The CEC Mapping Week had two objectives:
To bring together circular enthusiasts to discuss and learn
Cambridge Econometrics, Directorate-General for Environment, Trinomics, Vito, VVA
"Collaborative platforms, such as Airbnb, Blablacar and Peerby, have changed the ways in which goods and services are offered and consumed in the economy. There has been a recent growth in studies analysing the drivers, impacts and scope of the collaborative economy. Some of them point to positive environmental impacts of such platforms. However, none of the studies so far have provided a systematic, qualitative and quantitative analysis of the impacts. This study fills this gap by answering two questions: (1) What is the environmental impact of the collaborative economy today and in the...