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...

    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...

    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...

    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...

    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)

    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 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

    Changing consumer behavior through eco-efficient services: an empirical study of car sharing in the Netherlands

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Rens Meijkamp

    Source: 

    Delft University of Technology, Section for Environmental Product Development

    Year: 

    1998

    This article mainly focuses on car sharing as an example of changing consumer behavior in order to benefit the environment. A discussion of technology and 'eco-efficient services plays a significant role here.

    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.

    Sustainable homeservices? Toward household services that enhance ecological, social and economic sustainability

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Minna Halme, Christine Jasch, Michael Scharp

    Source: 

    Helsinki School of Economics, IOW, Institute for Environmental Management and Economics, IZT, Institute for Future Studies and Technology Assessment

    Year: 

    2004

    If the material artefact remains in the ownership of the producer then there is a financial incentive to direct innovatory activities to produce more durable goods and the producer has responsibility for disposal. A smaller stock of products is needed to satisfy demand and if customers use these sequentially intensity of use increases as does the probability of a higher service yield before the product becomes outdated due to outdated technological characteristics, e.g. fashion. *In result orientated services, producers use their competencies to ensure the correct use of material artefacts...

    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...

    Institutionalization of sustainable consumption patterns based on shared use

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Oksana Mont

    Source: 

    The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University

    Year: 

    2004

    Mont begins the article by outlining history of consumption, its consequences, and the sociological and anthropological undertones in consumption patterns. She then pivots the conversation to Product Service Sytems, defining it and explaining ist background. In brief, she charactizes PSS well as "the idea that people do not necessarily want a material product, rather utility." Importantly she acknowledges that there is not an inherrent link to environmental sustainability and PSS, stating instances where the producers and services providers are detached can lead to limited improvements of...

    Product-service systems: a literature review on integrated products and services

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Fernanda Hänsch Beuren, Marcelo Gitirana Gomes Ferreira, Paulo A. Cauchick Miguel

    Source: 

    Production and System Engineering Department, Federal University of Santa Catarina

    Year: 

    2013

    "Academic and business interests in the product-service system have risen significantly in recent years. The product-service system represents a competitive opportunity for many companies as they seek to reduce consumption by altering how their products are used by providing services. To further establish this field, the objective of this paper is to present a literature review on the product-service system, including 149 papers published from 2006 to 2010. The review discusses specific features of the product-service system as well as the benefits and drawbacks that the literature has...

    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...

    Practice and public-private partnerships in sustainable transport governance: The case of care sharing in Sydney, Australia

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Robyn Dowling, Jennifer Kent

    Year: 

    2015

    "Over the past two decades car sharing has become a mainstream transportation mode for over a million users worldwide with organisations now operating in more than 1100 cities across 26 countries and on five continents. Car sharing has developed alongside significant intellectual currents exploring the attributes and effectiveness of the diverse strands of transport policy. These debates include the efficacy of behaviour change programmes to shift transport practice, the imprints of neoliberalism on transport policy, and the withdrawal of the state as active agent in shaping policy...

    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...

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