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...

    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...

    Growth within: A circular economy vision for a competitive Europe

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Ellen MacArthur et al.

    Source: 

    Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment (sponsered by Stiftungsfonds für Umweltökonomie)

    Year: 

    2015

    This report seeks to answer five questions:

    1. Is Europe’s current resource model effective?
    2. Will the technology revolution solve Europe’s resource issues?
    3. What would a circular economy in Europe look like?
    4. What economic outcomes could a circular model achieve in Europe?
    5. If Europe decided to shift towards a circular model, how could policy-makers and business leaders accelerate the transition?

    Three of Europe’s most resource-intensive basic needs are discussed; food, mobility and the built environment, all together comprising 60% of...

    Regulatory barriers for the Circular Economy: Lessons from ten case studies

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Joost van Barneveld et al.

    Source: 

    Technopolis Group, Fraunhofer ISI, thinkstep, Wuppertal Institute

    Year: 

    2016

    This report takes a look at several circular economy practices and identifies regulatory barriers that obstruct their full potential. Subsequently, recommendations are provided on how to overcome these barriers.

    Opportunities for a circular economy in the Netherlands

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Ton Bastein, Elsbeth Roelofs, Elmer Rietveld, Alwin Hoogendoorn

    Source: 

    TNO

    Year: 

    2013

    "This report analyses the opportunities and obstacles that will present themselves as the Netherlands moves towards a more circular economy. It proposes a number of actions that can be taken, particularly by the government, to accelerate this process." (https://www.government.nl/documents/reports/2013/10/04/opportunities-for...)

    DREAM

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2015

    The DREAM project aims to design, develop and demonstrate a radically improved architecture for ceramic industrial furnaces, characterised by optimised energy consumption, reduced emis-sions, and lower operating costs compared to currently available technological solutions. This will be obtained by substantially enhancing specific furnace parts (control system, refractories, emissions abatement system) and by adding new modules and sub-systems (CHP unit, heat pipes) to the current furnace architecture. DREAM Specific Objectives will be: To design innovative hardware furnace components...

    Inspire

    Type of evidence: 

    Year: 

    2017

    The INSPIRE project will develop innovative business models for a selection of complementary sectors that will create flexible networks based on intensified processing enabling more local production in Europe and reverse the delocalisation trends. This will be possible thanks to a clear identification of research and business (including SMEs) needs, followed by the deployment of routes (roadmap) and guideline targeting to measure and assess the performance of such novel models under different possible scenarios under a cost effective and sustainable perspective.

    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...

    PRINTCR3DIT

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2015

    The concept of PRINTCR3DIT is to employ 3D printing to boost process intensification in the chemical industries by adapting reactors and structured catalysts to the requirements of the reaction. This manufacturing technique is particularly useful in reactions where diffusion, mixing and/or heat transfer are limitations against reaching higher performance. The utilization of the concept of 3D printing will also reduce the resource utilization of reactor and catalyst manufacture, energy consumed (< 15%) and transportation.

    PRODIAS

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2015

    As outlined in the Roadmap of the EU's SPIRE PPP (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency), "the European process industry represents the roots of the European economy by transforming raw materials into intermediate and end-user products". What all sectors of the process industry have in common is that they are highly dependent on resources (such as energy, raw materials and water) for their production. As a consequence, the process industry is striving for long-term sustainability and efficiency in order to ensure competitiveness. The SPIRE Roadmap lists a...

    RECOBA

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2015

    All companies of the European process industry are facing the same challenges: on the one hand product quality has to be improved and at the same time production costs have to be decreased to be competitive on the world market. On the other hand the resource and energy efficiency of products and processes has to be improved to lower their ecological footprint. This is independent of the industrial sector, it is true for the cement industry as well as for the food or copper industry. That means, these are cross-sectorial challenges! The development of new production technologies could be...

    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...

    SHAREBOX

    Type of evidence: 

    Year: 

    2017

    Resource efficiency offers a major economic opportunities for the European Process Industry, both in terms of cost savings as well as opportunities to offer greener products and services. Industrial Symbiosis (IS) is the use by one company or sector of by-products, including energy, water, logistics and materials, from another. The approach that underpins SHAREBOX centres on logical work flow that covers from the identification of new symbiotic synergies right through optimised connections among companies and organisations in established symbiotic relationships. SHAREBOX will provide plant...

    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...

    SYMBIOPTIMA

    Type of evidence: 

    Year: 

    2017

    SYMBIOPTIMA is an H2020 project funded under the SPIRE-6 action. The project proposes a completely new paradigm for industrial clusters: the human-mimetic symbiosis. Drawing inspiration from one of the most complex biological organism, namely the human body, it promotes the mutual interaction of diverse industries, also among different sectors, for beneficial reuse of flows (e.g. water, waste, by-products, energy, recycled materials) that could result in a more resource-efficient production at network level, and in fewer adverse environmental impacts. Synergy and optimization of the flows...

    CESME

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Interreg Europe

    Year: 

    2017

    EU 2020 highlights that the EU and Member States should enable SMEs to turn environmental challenges into opportunities. Green growth can offer significant benefits, however as stated in the Small Business Act (EP 2014/2209 INI) policy makers need to fully understand the potential of the green economy, whilst being aware of the barriers that SMEs face regarding the greening of their products, production processes, business practices and services. The circular economy is a key concept of the green economy, based on optimising systems rather than components, away from 'Resource to Waste' to...

    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-...

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