Circular economy

Circular Economy – What is it all about?

It is rather then just being about sustainability, it is about good business! The Circular Economy requires businesses to rethink more than just their resource footprints and energy efficiency. It demands a more radical remodelling of business models (Source: Forbes).


Source: European Commission

How to facilitate the transition of Europe into a circular economy?

  • Setting-up an enabling policy framework
    • Using measures that combine smart regulations, incentives, information exchange, market-based instruments and support for voluntary approaches etc.
  • Innovation in new or changed designs
    • Lightweighting - reducing the quantity of materials required to deliver a particular service (e.g. packaging: reducing the weight of glass bottles or aluminium cans)
    • Extended durability – lengthening a the useful life of a product
    • Efficiency – reducing the use of energy and materials in production and use, etc.
  • Unlocking investment in circular economy solutions
    • Encourage investment in circular economy innovation and its take-up
  • Encouraging business and consumers
    • Business and consumers are the key actors in the transition to a more circular economy
  • Empower consumers to make informed choices – through better information
    • Opportunities for businesses should be facilitated in all phases of the value chain from production to consumption
    • g. collaborative consumption models, based on lending, swapping, bartering and renting products
  • Modernising waste policy and targets – waste as resource
    • Turning waste into a resource is part of ‘closing the loop’ in circular economy systems
    • Still, the EU we still generate about five tonnes of waste per person per year on average, and little more than a third of that is currently effectively recycled
    • Reduce waste generation and recycle waste into a reliable source of raw materials

What the Commission wants

  • Energy recovery only from non- recyclable materials and to virtually eliminate landfillingimage5
  • Defining waste targets for a move to recycling society: the Commission proposes, amongst others
  • Simplify and improve the implementation of waste legislation
  • Tackling specific waste challenges
    • Waste prevention – generate less waste
    • Marine litter – reduce marine litter by 30% by 2020
    • Construction and demolition waste
    • Food waste – up to 30% of all food produced around the world is lost or wasted
    • Plastic waste – annual increase in the EU at a rate of 5% (only 24% of plastic waste is recycled, close to 50% is landfilled, and the rest is incinerated)
    • Recycling of critical raw materials (CRMs)
    • Illegal waste shipment, proper management of hazardous waste and recycling of phosphorus

Source: WKO Life from Brussels

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