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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    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...

    Phosphorus flows and balances of the European Union Member States

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    K.C. van Dijk et al.

    Source: 

    Year: 

    2016

    "Global society faces serious "phosphorus challenges" given the scarcity, essentiality, unequal global distribution and, at the same time, regional excess of phosphorus (P). Phosphorus flow studies can be used to analyze these challenges, providing insight into how society (re)uses and loses phosphorus, identifying potential solutions. Phosphorus flows were analyzed in detail for EU-27 and its Member States. To quantify food system and non-food flows, country specific data and historical context were considered. The sectors covered were crop production (CP), animal production (AP), food...

    Role, impacts and services provided by European livestock production

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Source: 

    Year: 

    2016

    "Livestock production is a sector of major economic importance that defines many European rural areas. It has become the focus of controversy over the past decade or more, particularly with regard to the environmental impacts it causes. It this context, it seemed useful to support this debate with a critical review of the state of scientific knowledge on the role, impacts, and services - environmental, economic, and social - associated with the European livestock production. Accordingly, the French ministries responsible for Agriculture and the Environment, in cooperation with the French...

    Phosphorus recovery and recycling from waste: An appraisal based on a French case study

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Kalimuthu Senthilkumar, Alain Mollier, Magalie Delmas, Sylvain Pellerin,Thomas Nesme

    Source: 

    Year: 

    2014

    "Phosphate rocks, used for phosphorus (P) fertilizer production, are a non-renewable resource at the human time scale. Their depletion at the global scale may threaten global food and feed security. To prevent this depletion, improved P resource recycling from food chain waste to agricultural soils and to the food and feed industry is often presented as a serious option. However, waste streams are often complex and their recycling efficiency is poorly characterized. The aim of this paper is to estimate the P recovery and recycling potential from waste, considering France as a case study....

    Resource efficiency in practice - Closing mineral cycles

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Marion Sarteel et al.

    Year: 

    2016

    "The issue of closing mineral cycles was analyzed in eight European regions and the results are presented in the report "Resource Efficiency in Practice – Closing Mineral Cycles". The authors of BIO IS, Ecologic Institute, AMEC, Danish Technical University, University of Milano and LEI, identified measures that support the closing of mineral cycles within the study regions. For each region, practical and strategic options to reduce the nutrient surplus further were derived." (http://ecologic.eu/14069)

    Risks and Opportunities in the Global Phosphate Rock Market

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Marjolein de Ridder, Sijbren de Jong, Joshua Polchar, Stephanie Lingemann

    Source: 

    HCSS

    Year: 

    2012

    "The report aims primarily to raise awareness within Europe that the EU is almost entirely dependent on imported phosphate rock from the rest of the world and consequently vulnerable to disruptions in the supply of this important commodity. This means that the European food security and agricultural sector are at risk. The report formulates several perspectives for action on how the EU could deal with developments on the phosphate rock market and reduce its vulnerability to potential shocks." (p. 18)

    Urban Biocycles

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Andrew Morlet, Dale Walker, Nick Jeffries, Aurélien Susnjara, Sarah Churchill-Slough, Lena Gravis, Ian Banks

    Source: 

    Ellen MacArthur Foundation

    Year: 

    2017

    "This scoping paper focuses on the potential of the significant volume of organic waste flowing through the urban environment. The aim is to highlight the opportunities to capture value, in the form of the energy, nutrients and materials embedded in these flows, through the application of circular economy principles. Organic waste - from the organic fraction of municipal solid waste streams and wastewater that flows through sewage systems - is traditionally seen as a costly problem in economic and environmental terms. This scoping paper will explore the idea that the equation can be...

    ZERO BRINE

    Type of evidence: 

    Year: 

    2017

    "This project aims to facilitate the implementation of the Circular Economy package and the SPIRE Roadmap in various process industries by developing the necessary concepts, technological solutions and business models to re-design the value and supply chains of minerals (including magnesium) and water, while dealing with present organic compounds in a way that allows their subsequent recovery. This is achieved by demonstrating new configurations to recover these resources from saline impaired effluents (brines) generated by process industry, while eliminating wastewater discharge and...

    Water2REturn

    Type of evidence: 

    Year: 

    2017

    "Water2REturn proposes a full-scale demonstration process for integrated nutrients recovery from wastewater from the slaughterhouse industry using biochemical and physical technologies and a positive balance in energy footprint. The project will not only produce a nitrates and phosphate concentrate available for use as organic fertiliser in agriculture, but its novelty rests on the use of an innovative fermentative process designed for sludge valorisation which results in a hydrolysed sludge (with a multiplied Biomethane Potential) and biostimultants products, with low development costs...

    RUN4LIFE

    Type of evidence: 

    Year: 

    2017

    "Domestic wastewater (WW) is an important carrier of nutrients usually wasted away by current decentralised WW treatments (WWT). Run4Life proposes an alternative strategy for improving nutrient recovery rates and material qualities, based on a decentralised treatment of segregated black water (BW), kitchen waste and grey water combining existing WWT with innovative ultra-low water flushing vacuum toilets for concentrating BW, hyper-thermophilic anaerobic digestion as one-step process for fertilisers production and bio-electrochemical systems for nitrogen recovery. It is foreseen up to 100...

    Integration of Advanced Biofuels in the Circular Economy: Identifying major innovation options

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    René van Ree

    Source: 

    IEA Bioenergy

    Year: 

    2016

    Discusses ideal bioeconomy using biofuel and bioenergy, with an analysis of fuel projects, commercial status of various biofuel technologies, cascading use of biomass, and market values of different products

    Cascading use of biomass: opportunities and obstacles in EU policies

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Sini Eräjää

    Source: 

    BirdLife and European Environmental Bureau

    Year: 

    2015

    BirdLife Europe has been intensively working to highlight the environmental risks of using crops grown on agricultural land for fuel instead of food, resulting in significant emissions from indirect land use change (ILUC). This work resulted in the EU to limit the use of food based biofuels in the transport sector.  

    The effect of bioenergy expansion: Food, energy, and environment

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    J. Popp, Z.Lakner, M.Harangi-Rákos, M.Fári

    Source: 

    Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews

    Year: 

    2014

    "The increasing prices and environmental impacts of fossil fuels have made the production of biofuels to reach unprecedented volumes over the last 15 years. Given the increasing land requirement for biofuel production, the assessment of the impacts that extensive biofuel production may cause to food supply and to the environment has considerable importance. Agriculture faces some major inter-connected challenges in delivering food security at a time of increasing pressures from population growth, changing consumption patterns and dietary preferences, and post-harvest losses. At the same...

    Urban biowaste, a sustainable source of bioenergy?

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Mariel Vilella

    Source: 

    Zero Waste Europe

    Year: 

    2016

    "Although most bioenergy is produced by burning agricultural and forestry biomass, it is also generated by burning the organic parts of municipal solid waste, biowaste or urban biomass. This includes food waste from restaurants, households, farmers markets, gardens, textiles, clothing, paper and other materials of organic origin. But have you ever tried to fuel a bonfire with a salad? Probably not, so this may not be the most efficient use of urban biowaste." (https://www.zerowasteeurope.eu/...

    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...

    Bioenergy: how much can we expect for 2050?

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Helmut Haberl, Karl-Heinz Erb, Fridolin Krausmann, Steve Running, Timothy D Searchinger and W Kolby Smith

    Source: 

    ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS

    Year: 

    2013

    "Estimates of global primary bioenergy potentials in the literature span almost three orders of magnitude. We narrow that range by discussing biophysical constraints on bioenergy potentials resulting from plant growth (NPP) and its current human use. In the last 30 years, terrestrial NPP was almost constant near 54 PgC yr−1, despite massive efforts to increase yields in agriculture and forestry. The global human appropriation of terrestrial plant production has doubled in the last century. We estimate the maximum physical potential of the world's total land area outside croplands,...

    Biofuels in the long-run global energy supply mix for transportation

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Govinda R. Timilsina

    Source: 

    Philosophical Transaction od the Royal Society A

    Year: 

    2014

    "Various policy instruments along with increasing oil prices have contributed to a sixfold increase in global biofuels production over the last decade (2000–2010). This rapid growth has proved controversial, however, and has raised concerns over potential conflicts with global food security and climate change mitigation. To address these concerns, policy support is now focused on advanced or second-generation biofuels instead of crop-based first-generation biofuels. This policy shift, together with the global financial crisis, has slowed the growth of biofuels production, which has...

    Bioenergy and europes quest for a circular economy

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Lisa Benedetti

    Source: 

    Eubioenergy

    Year: 

    2015

    "Europe is on the move to become a ‘circular economy’ which is more competitive and resource efficient. The goal is a more circular flow of materials and energy so that Europeans use and consume in a way that creates minimal waste and puts less pressure on natural resources on this continent and other parts of the world. Sounds like a common sense plan…right? Yes, but one important question arises. Why isn’t the Commission including different types of biomass (biological material) as part of the circular economy equation?" (...

    Ensuring bioenergy comes clean in the Clean Energy Package

    Type of evidence: 

    Author names: 

    Sini Eräjää, Hanna Aho, Laura Buffet

    Source: 

    BirdLife Europe, Fern, Transport & Environment

    Year: 

    2017

    "European climate and energy policies are built on the myth that all bioenergy - being a renewable energy source - is good for the climate and good for the environment. As the use of bioenergy in the EU is expected to more than double by 2020 compared to 2005, it's becoming clear that bioenergy is not the clean dream we all hoped it would be. In some cases it can even increase CO2 emissions (compared to fossil fuels) and in numerous instances it threatens nature by putting additional pressure on already burdened agricultural land and forests. As the demand for bioenergy grows (pushed by...

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