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...

    Resource Efficiency: Potential and Economic Implications

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Paul Ekins, Nick Hughes et al.

    Source: 

    International Resource Panel

    Year: 

    2017

    "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...

    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)

    Lead Action 21: Environmental and social responsibility for the 21st century

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    International Lead Assocation

    Year: 

    2015

    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...

    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...

    The Service Economy

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    OECD

    Source: 

    OECD

    Year: 

    2000

    The report outlines the changes of the economies of OECD countries to become more service oriented. Because the article was published in 2000 it lacks the specificity to discuss PaS in depth, but is useful in general discussions of service oriented economies.

    Final Report: Processes for Recovery and Recycling of Chromium From Spent Chromium Oxide Fluorination Catalysts

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Darrell Coons

    Source: 

    US EPA

    Year: 

    2000

    The purpose of this Phase I project was to develop a process for recovery of chromium from spent chromium(III) oxide fluorination catalysts and similar waste or byproduct streams. The spent catalysts contain 40-64% chromium, primarily in the forms of chromium(III) oxide, Cr2O3, and chromium(III) fluoride, CrF3. They are hazardous solid wastes, for which no known processes for chromium recovery had previously existed. Little has been reported on the chemistry of chromium(III) fluoride. Work in our laboratories has shown that the spent catalysts are extremely inert to chemical attack by...

    REE4EU

    Type of evidence: 

    Year: 

    2015

    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

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    H2020

    Year: 

    2015

    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...

    Priorities for critical materials for a circular economy

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    EASAC

    Year: 

    2016

    "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...

    Study on modelling of the economic and environmental impacts of raw material consumption

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Cambridge Econometrics, Bio Intelligence Sevices

    Year: 

    2014

    "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)

    Mobile Flip

    Type of evidence: 

    Year: 

    2015

    MOBILE FLIP aims at developing and demonstrating mobile processes for the treatment of underexploited agro- and forest based biomass resources into products and intermediates. The processes will be evaluated in terms of raw material flexibility, as the biomass resources are typically scattered and seasonal. Process concepts have been designed around the key technologies pelletizing, torrefaction, slow pyrolysis, hydrothermal pretreatment and carbonisation. The products vary depending on the process concept, being typically fuels as such or for co-combustion (pellets, torrefied pellets,...

    SteamBio

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2015

    SteamBio is an industry-research partnership supported by the EC Horizon 2020 Programme and SPIRE public private partnership, launched on 1st February 2015. SteamBio will demonstrate in fields and forests an innovative mobile superheated steam process. This process will convert agro-forestry residues into stable feedstock for biochemical and bioenergy uses. SteamBio involves the development of decentralised business models to enable widespread flexible deployment in rural areas across Europe. The successful project will create local jobs and generate local wealth. It will also contribute...

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