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...

    Towards circular economy implementation: a comprehensive review in context of manufacturing industry

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Michael Lieder, Amir Rashid

    Source: 

    Department of Production Engineering, KTH Royal Institute of Technology

    Year: 

    2015

    This review paper aims to analyse the research landscape and context of circular economy research so far, explore the perspective on it that combines aspects of resources scarcity, environmental impact and economic benefits, and develop a framework mainly for the manufacturing industry, based on these aspects.

    Mastering Circular Business with the Value Hill

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Circle Economy

    Source: 

    Circle Economy, Sustainable Finance Lab, Nuovolente, TU Delft

    Year: 

    2016

    This paper targets businesses who aspire to transition to a more circular model. The paper advocates for and describes a circular business model (or rather collection of business models) and tran-sition tool called the Value Hill. The value hill provides businesses with detailed information regarding how to best transition to a circular model as well as nuanced descriptions of best practice options. A key component of the Value hill is Network Organization which is an overarching concept/model/tool that encourages increased efficiency and circularity through collaborative partnerships and...

    A review on circular economy: the expected transition to a balanced interplay of environmental and economic systems

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Patrizia Ghisellini, Catia Cialani, Sergio Ulgiati

    Source: 

    University of Bologna, Dalarna University, Parthenope Universtiy of Naples, Beijing Normal Unversity

    Year: 

    2016

    "This study provides an extensive review of the literature of last two decades, with the purpose of grasping the main CE features and perspectives: origins, basic principles, advantages and disadvantages, modelling and implementation of CE at the different levels (micro, meso and macro) worldwide." (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652615012287)

    Measuring circular economy strategies through index methods: A critical analysis

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Valerio Elia, Maria Grazia Gnoni, Fabiana Tornese

    Source: 

    Department of Innovation Engineering, University of Salento

    Year: 

    2015

    "In the last years, the circular economy (CE) paradigm is being widely explored by researchers and institutions as a possible path to increase the sustainability of our economic system. Reuse, repair and recycling are becoming crucial activities in many sectors. At the same time, companies are showing an increasing interest for this new economic model. However, the state of the art shows that a deep research on CE assessment and indicators is still lacking, in particular on the micro level. This work tries to fill this gap, first analyzing the current literature on CE assessment, then...

    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...

    The history and current applications of the circular economy concept

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    K. Winans, A. Kendall, H. Deng

    Source: 

    University of California

    Year: 

    2017

    "The challenges of balancing industrial development, environmental and human health, and economic growth in China and elsewhere in the world are drivers for recent resource use and low-carbon development strategies that include the application of the circular economy (CE) concept. A central theme of the CE concept is the valuation of materials within a closed-looped system with the aim to allow for natural resource use while reducing pollution or avoiding resource constraints and sustaining economic growth. The objectives of this study are (1) to review the history of the CE concept to...

    Environmental sustainability assessment of bioeconomy value chains

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Jorge Cristóbol et al.

    Source: 

    European Commission, JRC, IES

    Year: 

    2016

    "The objectives of this work were: (1) to map and analyse accessible LCA data related to bioeconomy value chains in order to identify knowledge gaps; (2) provide a more robust and complete picture of the environmental performance of three bioeconomy value chains (i.e. one per each bioeconomy pillar). This analysis reveals that apart from few products (such as liquid biofuels, some biopolymers and food crops) the environmental assessment of bioeconomy value chains is still incipient and limited to few indicators (e.g. Global Warming Potential and energy efficiency). In this study, a...

    Design for Remanufacturing and Circular Business Models

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Sharon Prendeville, Nancy Bocken

    Source: 

    TU Delft

    Year: 

    2015

    "The core aim of this paper is to build understanding of design for remanufacturing and remanufacturing-oriented business models. The paper reports on the linkages between design and business model strategies by presenting a case of a business-led pilot study conducted to explore the commercial viability of remanufacturing. The results show how life-cycle considerations and a combination of design and business strategies can accelerate transition to resource efficient business models. The paper illuminates the topic of remanufacturing by showcasing a dynamic real-world business case, from...

    Business Model Innovation in a Circular Economy Reasons for Non-Acceptance of Circular Business Models

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Patrick Planing

    Source: 

    Hochschule Pforzheim University

    Year: 

    2016

    "The overall aim of this paper is to develop a new conceptual framework for business model innovation in a circular economy and to explore the reasons for consumer non-adoption of business models in this context." (p. 1)

    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...

    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.

    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...

    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...

    TERRA

    Type of evidence: 

    Source: 

    H2020

    Year: 

    2015

    TERRA project aims to develop, from TRL 3 to 5, a tandem electrocatalytic reactor (TER) coupling an oxidation reaction to a reduction reaction, with thus the great potential advantage of: saving resources and energy (needed to produce the oxidant and reductants for the two separate reactions); intensify the process (reduce the nr. of steps, coupling two synthesis processes and especially eliminating those to prepare the oxidation and reduction agents). The proposal address one of SPIRE Roadmap Key Actions "New ways of targeting energy input viaelectrochemical".

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