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...
José Potting, Marko Hekkert, Ernst Worrell, Aldert Hanemaaijer
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
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...
Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment (sponsered by Stiftungsfonds für Umweltökonomie)
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...
"This report does three things. It provides an overview of market-based instruments (MBIs) established by EU environmental legislation. Then it explains the established definitions and rationales for the application of environmental taxes and discusses their current design and application in EEA member countries. It concludes with overall findings and some reflections on the potential for long-term tax-shifting programmes in the context of policy targets as well as technlogical innovation and demographic changes." (p. 6)
Technopolis Group, Fraunhofer ISI, thinkstep, Wuppertal Institute
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.
Indus3Es SYSTEM is aimed to recover and revalue non-recovered low-exergy surplus heat in energy intensive industrial processes. Indus3Es System will upgrade low temperature waste heat streams to process heat streams at higher temperature levels and then use them in internal industrial process, reducing primary energy consumption of the industry.
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.
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...
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...
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...
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...
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 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...
The overall objective of VULKANO project is to design, implement and validate an advanced retrofitting integrated solution to increase the energy and environmental efficiency in existing preheating and melting industrial furnaces currently fed with natural gas. This will be achieved through implementing combined new solutions based on high-temperature phase change materials (PCMs), new refractories, optimized co-firing, advanced monitoring and control systems and a holistic in-house predictive tool.
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 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:...
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...
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...
"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)