Towards a circular economy – Waste management in the EU


This report by the Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA) of EPRS- European Parliamentary Research Service examines the role of waste management in the context of a circular economy transition. The full text of the report is available here: https://goo.gl/9wrXiU

Summary:

Key challenges relate to moving beyond the perception of ‘waste as a problem’ to ‘waste as a resource’. To this end high levels of cooperation are needed between the waste industry and enterprises engaged in circular economy business models. Collecting high quality waste streams for re-use, remanufacturing and recycling also requires citizen engagement and integrated infrastructure development from the municipal to the EU level.

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ACCELERATING A CIRCULAR ECONOMY IN TAIWAN

Although they’re located on opposite sides of the planet and have very different cultures and customs, the Netherlands and Taiwan have plenty in common. Both are roughly the same size, are densely populated, and see the Circular Economy as an emergent guiding light for economic and environmental policy.
Both the Netherlands and Taiwan are fortunate to have the resources to make big steps. The Netherlands’ environmental efforts have been recognized as being more successful thus far, ranking 36th in the 2016 Yale University Environmental Performance Index (EPI), compared with Taiwan’s 60th. But the EPI primarily measures how a country is doing on environmental metrics like air quality, forest management, etc., and doesn’t account for things like the activities of companies or the “resource footprint” of cities, which are equally significant.
Both countries are taking a leading role on circularity domestically, with numerous initiatives from government and the private sector aimed at encouraging circular urban planning, reducing and reusing waste flows, and stimulating green energy.

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Degrowth, steady state economics and the circular economy

Missing Points in the Development Dialogue

Degrowth, steady state economics and the circular economy: three distinct yet increasingly converging alternative discourses to economic growth for achieving environmental sustainability and social equity

Criticisms of the neoclassical economic framework and perpetual growth in GDP terms are not a new phenomenon, although recent years have seen increasing interest in alternative and ecological discourses including degrowth, steady state and circular economics. Although these may initially appear as distinctly different discourses, they are highly compatible and comparable, sharing similar, often nearly identical principles and policy proposals. A more collaborative, joined-up approach aimed at integrating alternative discourses is required in order to build a coherent, credible, well-supported alternative, as there is more uniting than dividing these critical voices, particularly in the face of mainstream political and economic debates that are shaped by neoclassical economics.

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DELIVERING THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY: A TOOLKIT FOR POLICYMAKER

Business leaders and governments alike are acknowledging that continued long-term value creation requires a new economic model that is less dependent on cheap, easily accessible materials and energy, and that is able to restore and regenerate natural capital. In its research to date, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has demonstrated that the circular economy is a clear value creation opportunity. As many policymakers become interested in this promising model, they envisage the important role they can play in creating the right enabling conditions and, as appropriate, setting direction to unlock it.

   * Full text of Executive Summary from  Ellen MacArthur Foundation

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