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...

    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...

    I-ThERM

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2017

    I-ThERM's goal is to investigate, design, build and demonstrate innovative plug and play waste heat recovery solutions to facilitate optimum utilisation of energy in selected applications with high replicability and energy recovery potential in the temperature range 70-1000 degrees Celcius.

    iCspec

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2017

    The iCspec project focuses on the in-line process control of many technically relevant gases such as hydrocarbons (HC). The main purpose of the project is to develop gas analyzers beyond the state-of-the-art for fast in-line multi-component monitoring of gas compositions in a process stream and to replace currently employed analyzers as gas chromatographs (GCs) or Fourier-Transform-Infrared spectrometers (FTIRs)

    IMPROOF

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2015

    IMPROOF is a European Project aiming at improving the energy efficiency of steam cracking furnaces, while reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and NOx. The strongly industrial oriented consortium is composed of 7 industrial partners, including 2 SME completed by 2 RTO and 2 Universities, showing a clear and strong path to the industrial and economical world.

    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...

    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)

    Beyond the Throwaway Society: A Life Cycle-Based Assessment of the Environmental Benefit of Reuse

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Valentina Castellani, Serenella Sala, Nadia Mirabella

    Year: 

    2015

    "In the context of a circular economy, sustainable consumption is often seen as the antithesis of current consumption patterns, which have led to the definition of the so-called throwaway society. Reuse may provide a preferred alternative to other waste management options, because it promotes resource efficiency and may significantly reduce environmental impacts. To appraise the environmental benefits related to reuse of goods, a methodology adopting life cycle assessment (LCA) has been developed. A standardized procedure has been developed, identifying reference products within product...

    Utilization of structural steel in buildings

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Muiris C. Moynihan, Julian M. Allwood

    Source: 

    Year: 

    2014

    "Over one-quarter of steel produced annually is used in the construction of buildings. Making this steel causes carbon dioxide emissions, which climate change experts recommend be reduced by half in the next 37 years. One option to achieve this is to design and build more efficiently, still delivering the same service from buildings but using less steel to do so. To estimate how much steel could be saved from this option, 23 steel-framed building designs are studied, sourced from leading UK engineering firms. The utilization of each beam is found and buildings are analysed to find patterns...

    Stewardship to tackle global phosphorus inefficiency: The case of Europe

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Paul J.A. Withers et al.

    Source: 

    Year: 

    2015

    "The inefficient use of phosphorus (P) in the food chain is a threat to the global aquatic environment and the health and well-being of citizens, and it is depleting an essential finite natural resource critical for future food security and ecosystem function. We outline a strategic framework of 5R stewardship (Re-align P inputs, Reduce P losses, Recycle P in bioresources, Recover P in wastes, and Redefine P in food systems) to help identify and deliver a range of integrated, cost-effective, and feasible technological innovations to improve P use efficiency in society and reduce Europe’s...

    Production of biofuels and biomolecules in the framework of circular economy: A regional case study

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Nicolas Jacquet, Eric Haubruge, Aurore Richel

    Source: 

    Wate Management and Research

    Year: 

    2015

    "Faced to the economic and energetic context of our society, it is widely recognised that an alternative to fossil fuels and oil-based products will be needed in the nearest future. In this way, development of urban biorefinery could bring many solutions to this problem. Study of the implementation of urban biorefinery highlights two sustainable configurations that provide solutions to the Walloon context by promoting niche markets, developing circular economy and reducing transport of supply feedstock. First, autonomous urban biorefineries are proposed, which use biological waste for the...

    MEMERE2

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Fausto Gallucci

    Source: 

    Spire2030

    Year: 

    2015

    "MEthane activation via integrated MEmbrane REactors (MEMERE) responds to the EU Horizon 2020 call SPIRE-05-2015 and is a research and innovation project aiming at methane activation towards C2+ . The focus of the project is on the air separation through novel MIEC membranes integrated within a reactor operated at high temperature for OCM allowing integration of different process steps in a single multifunctional unit and achieving much higher yields compared with conventional reactor." (https://www.spire2030.eu/memere)

    Biodiesel produced by waste cooking oil: Review of recycling modes in China, the US and Japan

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Huiming Zhang, U.AytunOzturk, QunweiWang, Zengyao Zhao

    Source: 

    Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews

    Year: 

    2014

    "Waste cooking oil to biodiesel conversion efficiency depends on the recycling mode that is being practiced. The recycling modes in China, the US and Japan can be placed in two categories: third party take-back (TPT) and the biodiesel enterprise take-back (BET). We review the operation mechanisms of theses modes, their advantages and disadvantages in three countries and compare them using recycling costs and profits of biodiesel enterprises, subsidies for manufacturers, recycling rates, degree of administrative control, technical support and incentive mechanisms provided for the...

    Report on Economic Quantative Ex-Ante Assessment of DYNAMIX Policy Mixes

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Francesco Bosello et al.

    Source: 

    DYNAMIX project

    Year: 

    2016

    "The  purpose  of  deliverable  D6.2  is  to  support  with  a  quantitative  economic  assessment  the evaluation  of  a  set  of  policies  scrutinized  within  the  DYNAMIX  project, aiming  to  promote decoupling of resources use from GDP and material efficiency within the EU. The  analytical  tools  used  for  the  investigation  are  three  macro- economic  models,  ICES,MEMO  and  MEWA,  all  belonging  to  the  category  of  Computable  General  Equilibrium modelling,  but  with  complementary  characteristics.  More  specifically:  they  all  provide  a sectoral  representation ...

    Contemporary Resource Policy and Decoupling Trends - Lessons Learnt from Integrated Model-Based Assessments

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Mark Meyer et al.

    Source: 

    Sustainability

    Year: 

    2018

    "Addressing climate change and natural resource depletion has been key to the international and national sustainability agenda for almost 30 years. Despite existing efforts, global CO2 emissions and raw material use levels continue to grow. This seems to suggest the need for more systemic approaches in environmental policy. Our paper contributes modelling results to assess the potential of efficiency improvements to achieve absolute decoupling of global raw material use and environmental impacts from economic growth. We apply the global, dynamic MRIO model GINFORS to simulate potential...

    Report about integrated scenario interpretation GINFORS / LPJmL results

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Bernd Meyer et al.

    Source: 

    POLFREE project

    Year: 

    2015

    Meyer et al. examine a combined policy consisting in resource use and CO2 emissions reduction targets using the GINFORS model. Specifically, they analyze different ways of achieving environmental targets, which relate to CO2 emissions, cropland footprint, raw material consumption and water exploitation index. In the first case (“Global cooperation”), the authors assume that all countries in the world share the environmental targets and a global policy mix is adopted, which includes measures to reduce climate impacts and to enhance biotic and abiotic material...

    An Economic Analysis of The Circular Economy

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Sugandha D. Tuladhar et al.

    Source: 

    NERA Economic Consulting

    Year: 

    2016

    "In this paper we develop a global computable general equilibrium (CGE) model to evaluate the effects of illustrative circular economy scenarios for Denmark and the European Union using the GTAP 8 dataset. The goal of a circular economy is to minimize the use of virgin resources and the generation of residuals not re-used in production.  We simulate four circularity scenarios – two Denmark specific circularity scenarios and two scenarios that affect the European Union. The modeling results show that Denmark’s gross domestic product (GDP) could increase by 0.8% to 1.4% relative to the...