3 lessons from Finland on transitioning to a circular economy

In 2016, under the leadership of the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, Finland was the first country in the world to prepare a national circular economy roadmap. This roadmap provided a plan to move the country away from a ‘make-take-waste’ linear economy model to one that protects resources and eliminates waste along value chains. The roadmap has proven a strong tool in starting a circular change and creating a strong commitment throughout the Finnish society. Thanks to the roadmap, the country could take clear steps for a circular transition and compile key stakeholders’ views on the essential changes and actions required for the circular transformation. Today, Finland has a variety of ongoing circular economy activities in several sectors, a governmental program for advancing circular economy, and the highest number of circular economy higher education courses in the world.

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Center calls on private sector to embrace circular economy

The Sustainable Inclusive Business (SIB) Kenya is calling on government and businesses to embrace circular economy noting that Kenya’s economy cannot thrive in the long run without a deliberate shift to a system that restores and regenerates natural resources. A circular economy is an economic system that eliminates waste by promoting better designs, reuse, take-back schemes  and recycling. “Circular economy won’t just happen; it will wait till everyone takes individual and corporate responsibility and it requires intention and design,” said Ms. Karin Boomsma, the Centre’s Project Director.

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Biden agrees to $973B bipartisan infrastructure plan, EV subsidies axed

The Biden administration has wholeheartedly embraced electric vehicles in its proposed infrastructure plan and other areas of the government. But the president also wants the US supply chain to better compete with China’s dominance in battery assembly and resource refining. According to a Reuters report this past Friday, Biden’s plan targets a boost to battery recycling to walk a fine line between helping the environment and increasing competitiveness. Reuters reported on various government reports submitted to the White House as a 100-day review of important supply chains wraps up. This review is mostly meant to address the constricted supply of semiconductor chips. The chip shortage continues to plague numerous industries, including the auto industry. However, the review extends to the EV supply chain and the government aims to position the US to better compete with China’s abilities to build batteries and to refine the materials needed to make them.

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Turning to sustainable global business: 5 things to know about the circular economy

Unless we make some major adjustments to the way the planet is run, many observers believe that business as usual puts us on a path to catastrophe. Around 90 per cent of global biodiversity loss and water stress (when the demand for water is greater than the available amount), and a significant proportion of the harmful emissions that are driving climate change, is caused by the way we use and process natural resources. Over the past three decades, the amount of raw materials extracted from the earth, worldwide, has more than doubled. At the current rate of extraction, we’re on course to double the amount again, by 2060.

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London gears up for Circular Economy Week

ReLondon is set to convene leaders and innovators from across the capital and beyond for the fourth Circular Economy Week (#CEweekLDN), taking place this week between 14-18 June. The week will showcase some of London’s most promising circular economy approaches to inspire action and encourage organisations and individuals to waste less and reuse, repair, share and recycle more. The aim is to promote polices, practices and behaviours that can accelerate the growth of the circular economy and place it firmly on the agenda for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November. Almost half (45%) of climate-changing emissions currently come from the global management of land and the production of goods and food. Tackling these emissions requires a shift to a circular economy, which keeps materials and resources in use for as long as possible.

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Growing the Circular Economy: Opportunities for Resource Recycling under China’s Carbon-Neutrality Target

For the first time, RMI has examined the vast potential for resource recycling in China and shown how it can serve as an important component of reaching the nation’s zero-carbon goal. Growing the Circular Economy: Opportunities for Resource Recycling under China’s Carbon-Neutrality Target [PDF] quantifies the market opportunity across nine key segments, from scrap steel and plastics to biomass and EV batteries, finding a ¥2.8 trillion potential market in 2050. The report provides a qualitative analysis of each of these segments, looking at the current state of the market and addressing issues such as resource availability, existing policy supports, and the potential for greenhouse gas mitigation. It also explores how the development of resource recycling industries can help to shift business ecosystems towards a circular economy with greater efficiency, lower emissions, and reduced waste.

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Collaborate to accelerate a circular economy for plastics: CGF

There are times when the challenge of plastic waste seems so immense and so intractable that solutions feel difficult to find. More than 60 percent of plastics end up in a landfill or the natural environment. Millions of tonnes of plastic waste spill into the oceans every year, creating highly visible ecological devastation, a stark reminder that immediate action is needed.
Yet by working in partnership, the consumer goods industry can make a profound positive difference. At The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), we know that business collaboration is an essential part of the answer. We may be competitors in business, but together we are making the case for change, using our influential reach to create changes for people, business and planet.
The 41 members of our Plastic Waste Coalition of Action​ – representing more than 10 percent of the global plastic packaging market – are striving to deliver the solutions that industry can provide.
Read the full article at: www.foodnavigator.com

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EPA announces €625,000 funding opportunity for innovative Irish businesses in the circular economy

Speaking about the Green Enterprise: Innovation for a Circular Economy funding call, Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA said: “A ‘circular’ economy reduces waste throughout the economic cycle and ensures that materials are used as efficiently as possible. “Circular businesses reduce costs and environmental impact by reusing, repairing and recycling materials already in use. These approaches can advance the green transition, accelerate digital transformation and can deliver new jobs and skills as Ireland implements its National Recovery and Resilience Plan.” A ‘circular’ economy reduces waste throughout the economic cycle and ensures that materials are used as efficiently as possible. The EPA is inviting business and industry applicants from across Ireland’s economy with business-ready innovative projects targeting the areas of food, plastic, construction and demolition waste and resources and raw materials.”

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Modeling A Circular Economy For Electronic Waste –

Think about how many different pieces of technology the average household has purchased in the last decade. Phones, TVs, computers, tablets, and game consoles don’t last forever, and repairing them is difficult and often as expensive as simply buying a replacement. Electronics are integral to modern society, but electronic waste (e-waste) presents a complex and growing challenge in the path toward a circular economy–a more sustainable economic system that focuses on recycling materials and minimizing waste. Adding to the global waste challenge is the prevalence of dishonest recycling practices by companies who claim to be recycling electronics but actually dispose of them by other means, such as in landfills or shipping the waste to other countries.

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The stag hunt: Why a circular economy is so difficult

We know we use far more resources per year today than the Earth manages to regenerate. And the warnings of the long-term negative consequences this will have are becoming increasingly clear—not only for the environment, but also for the economy and for social structures. One possible solution is to transition to a circular economy where resources are used over and over again instead of wasted, and where the energy used is renewable. It is estimated that this would not only be beneficial for the environment and resources, but that it could help create 700,000 new jobs in the EU area alone and save the business community 600 billion euros. This would be a win-win situation.

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Teaching Sustainability – But in a Playful Way –

From spring 2022, the NAWAREUM in Straubing will be a central information and experience site for resources and renewable energies. The project is all about the “New European Bauhaus”, an initiative of the European Commission that calls for projects to be developed and implemented in the spirit of the “Green Deal”. Ars Electronica is an official partner of this initiative too. In addition to the themes of climate change and sustainability, the NAWAREUM also highlights the opportunities and challenges of the energy and resources transition. A special feature of the new building, which is largely constructed of wood, is its sustainable building technology: the building was planned according to passive house standards and is itself part of the approx. 1240m² permanent exhibition. In terms of both content and design, the NAWAREUM pursues an innovative and interdisciplinary approach. Together with architects, scenographers, scientists and artists, the subject matter is presented in an exciting way and communicated to an interested public.

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The Role Of Battery Recycling In The Circular Economy: Part 1

Only a few major battery innovations (Lead Acid by Plante, Nickel Cadmium by Jungner, Lithium-ion by Goodenough/Sony) have reached significant market penetration since the 1800s. As of 2018, over 90% of large‐scale battery storage power capacity in the US was provided by batteries based on Lithium‐ion (Li-ion) chemistries [1]. The demand for Li-ion batteries for consumer electronics and electric vehicles (EVs) is projected to grow about tenfold until the next decade. By 2025, the global revenue from Li-ion batteries is expected to reach $71 billion USD [2]. The volume of retired batteries follows an S-like curve, with less end-of-life Li-ion batteries today, but an estimated 315 GWh (1,619,000 tons) available for recycling by 2030 (assuming a lifetime of 10 years) [3], a volume roughly equivalent to current annual battery production [4]. 

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“Consumer is the Key to Circular Economy”: Join in with the Fourth International E-Waste Day and Raise Public Awareness of E-Waste

This year’s International E-Waste Day (#ewasteday), taking place on 14 October, will focus on the crucial part each of us, as consumers and as citizens, has in making circularity a reality for e-products. According to the UN, in 2021 each person on the planet will produce on average 7.6 kg of e-waste, meaning that a massive 57.4 million tonnes will be generated worldwide. Only 17.4 per cent of this electronic waste containing a mixture of harmful substances and precious materials will be recorded as being properly collected, treated and recycled. Many initiatives are undertaken to tackle this growing concern, but none of them can be fully effective without the active role and correct education of consumers.

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Enso – circular economy tyres for electric cars –

A couple of months ago I wrote about the roadside pollution from electric cars – the particles from tyres and brakes. In the UK, non-tailpipe emissions are around 8% of air pollution, so it’s not a huge contributor to the problem. But due to the weight of their batteries, electric vehicles may produce more tyre particles than fossil fuel vehicles, and so it may be a more significant source of pollution in future. If we want electric cars to live up to the ‘zero emissions’ labels that many of them already boast, we’re going to need better tyres. Particles from tyres also enter watercourses and are a significant contributor to ocean pollution, giving us a second reason to pay attention to this more or less invisible environmental problem. Enso is a start-up that is developing tyres specifically for electric cars – the first to do so that I’m aware of, and potentially ahead of a rush in that direction. That means they will be designing for efficiency, in order to maximise range. They’re also working on durability, and a cleaner, lower carbon tyre.

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Two megatrends leading towards a Switzerland of the future – the interplay of circular economy and digitalisation

Circular economy (CE) and digitalisation are the two megatrends that are shaping the 21st century, influencing the way economy, society and the environment develop and interact. For a long time, these two trends have been seen as divergent or even conflicting. On the one hand, our world is becoming more and more digital. Digitalisation saturates and changes almost every aspect of our lives. And on the other side, it is becoming ever more apparent that the way we live and do business is having a negative impact on our planet. It is obvious that we cannot continue as we have so far; we need more sustainable development in all areas of life. This whitepaper explores the ways in which digital technologies could become key enablers of the circular economy, bringing important benefits to companies, consumers, and the environment. While this potential remains largely untapped, possible ways to bridge the gap between theory and practice are also discussed, particularly when it comes to developing innovative solutions, supportive policies and framework conditions.
Read the full article at: digitalswitzerland.com

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What is the circular economy?

Headlines and press releases tell us policymakers and business leaders are focused on accelerating the transition to a circular economy. But what exactly is it they are all speeding towards? At its the heart the circular economy is about transforming how materials are used and produced to eliminate wastage. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) points to its goal of ‘closing the loop between raw materials, products and wastes so that materials remain in use and consumption of finite resources is reduced’. While countries and sectors would likely say something similar, the lack of an ‘internationally-agreed definition’ is slowing down progress in ‘designing informed strategies’, the UNECE said.

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Towards a circular economy for plastics, where it does not become waste

Plastic, plastic, plastic everywhere! Not a place you can turn to without being greeted by the sight of plastic. Plastic is a doubled edged sword. It is very much a part of our lives, being a packaging material for many of the products we consume and also being a primary or secondary raw material for many items including electronics, furniture, motor vehicles, planes and ships. Its affordability and availability makes it the natural go to for manufacturers and producers seeking to maximize return on investment.

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How Kate Hudson Cut Through the Noise to Promote Sustainability: ‘I’m Frustrated Too, But We’re Doing This For a Reason’

Entrepreneurs love taking “no” as a challenge, as if the right combination of savvy and stubbornness can overcome any obstacle. It’s why, against the odds, Kate Hudson went after an elusive herb called amla. This happened early into Hudson’s latest business, InBloom, a line of plant-based powdered supplements she launched in August 2020. The amla plant is native to India and believed in Ayurvedic medicine to promote overall wellness and longevity, and Hudson’s team had spent months working on the formula for an amla-packed, immunity-boosting blend they hoped to introduce later this year.

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Helping Europe achieve a circular economy transition

EIT Climate-KIC, EIT RawMaterials, EIT Digital, EIT Food, EIT Manufacturing and EIT Urban Mobility have created a Cross-Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) action aiming to strengthen the collaboration of their activities related to the circular economy.  A coordinated and efficient collaboration between the different KICs will help the EU achieve its Circular Economy Action Plan.  The initiative aims to establish discussions among the KICs to find ways to develop a joint offer around circular economy and improve coordination with the Commission on this issue. It will also strengthen collaboration with other relevant stakeholders, support the European Institute of Technology in discussions with the Directorate-General for the Environment of the European Commission and facilitate the access to markets for innovative solutions developed in participating KICs. 

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Opera production & the circular economy: interview with Thierry Leonardi (Lyon Opera)

This interview is the first of a series of interviews that I am conducting with eco-theatre professionals over the next couple of months. Thierry Leonardi has been working for culture for the last 25 years. He has been the Lyon Opera Ballet General Manager from 1995 to 2015 and the sustainability officer of the Lyon Opera from 2008 to 2015. Since 2016 he has worked as a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) consultant with cultural organisations, helping them to formalize and implement their sustainability strategies and road maps. He is a member of the labelling committee of French CSR label Lucie26000.

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