Circular economy

Chemical recycling of plastic: Waste no more?

Plastics recycling is as much of a challenge as an opportunity for the circular economy. Michael Laermann looks at chemical recycling and whether it can make the plastics value chain more circular whilst providing a profitable new industry branch.
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04-03-2019

European innovators ready to lead change on plastic waste

The EU’s Plastics Strategy will significantly increase demand for circular business models and greener products. The EIT's Climate KIC is working with European innovators to seize the business opportunity this creates, and support them in getting from visionary idea to profitable activity, write Elléa Lhermite and Piotr Pogorzelski.
30-01-2019

Circular economy must remain a priority for Europe beyond the 2019 elections

The Circular Economy Package and Plastics Strategy have set a high-level framework to improve the resource efficiency of the European economy. But to be effective, this framework must remain a policy priority for the next European Commission and Parliament, writes Nick Molho.
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30-01-2019

Making sense of the EU’s Circular Economy Package from the metal packaging value chain

New EU waste legislation adopted last year has redefined what can be considered “recycled” and resets targets for each packaging material. Gordon Shade goes through the expected changes and remaining challenges.

Paper, the forgotten forest destroyer

As the world awakes to the threat posed by palm oil and soy to our forests, it’s in danger of overlooking how paper and packaging drives industrial logging, mis-shapes millions of hectares of forest landscapes and creates monoculture plantations, writes Sini Eräjää.

Biogas in Germany: Maintaining momentum

With the European Parliament backing a net zero emissions target for 2050, EU member states will need to further develop their biogas markets to continue to reduce emissions from waste, energy, and transport, write Benjamin Budde and David Newman.
30-11-2018

The Sustainable Blue Economy: EU’s actions must match its words

As global leaders met at the world’s first Sustainable Blue Economy conference this week, the EU must face the sobering reality of the state of our ocean and stand by its commitments to sustainably protect and effectively manage Europe’s seas before it’s too late, writes Dr Samantha Burgess.
27-11-2018

Waste incineration is waste incineration, no matter the classification

The European Parliament must reject any proposal that provides Cohesion Funds to incineration facilities, no matter their classification, writes Dr. Ingrid Behrsin.
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23-11-2018

Deposit-Return Schemes for single-use packaging: an unnecessary evolution?

To prevent littering and foster more recycling, some member states are considering setting mandatory deposit-return schemes (DRS) on single-use beverage packaging. For plastic packaging, there are reasons to believe this could happen. But if a DRS on single-use plastic packaging is introduced, would it also include other materials?  
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23-11-2018

Raw materials: The foundation of a prosperous European future

Forming the basis of our cities, digitalisation and the European energy transition, raw materials are essential components in manufacturing the products of the future, writes Roman Stiftner. With the emergence of new demand, now is the right time for stakeholders to come together and respond to this challenge, he argues.
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15-11-2018

Closing Europe’s raw materials loop: The case for copper

There can be no wind or solar energy, no smart grids and no electric vehicles without copper, aluminium or steel, to name but a few. What Europe must do is enable advanced processing of materials in order to close the loop, writes Dr Katia Lacasse.
10-10-2018

Time to shift responsibility on plastics

Plastic pollution is increasingly in the spotlight but Europe could learn a thing or two from one of the cities leading the charge to curb unnecessary waste, writes the governing mayor of Oslo.
03-10-2018

How the EU’s Cohesion Fund can support the circular economy

The EU’s next Cohesion Fund for regional development should prioritise investments into waste management systems focused on prevention, re-use, separate collection and recycling – not on incineration, argues Janek Vahk.
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26-09-2018

Bottles becoming bottles: Let’s go full circle!

The time has come for the European Parliament’s last opportunity to take concrete action before handing over the reins to the EU’s successors: making it mandatory to produce plastic bottles with at least 25% of recycled plastics by 2025.

Time to banish wet wipes from our sewers

Plastics in our sewer system costs consumers money and the European water sector has its daily challenges, one of them being sewers getting clogged regularly by plastics and wet wipes, explain Oliver Loebel and Maxime Bineau.
04-09-2018

Can we tax our way out of the plastic pollution crisis?

No environmental tax has ever been approved at EU level, given the need for unanimity in the Council. But if a plastic tax were successfully passed, would such a measure really help to set the EU on the path to curbing plastic pollution?

Tackling food waste: turning nemesis into a saviour

The function of food packaging has traditionally been limited to passive protection from external influences, but innovations are quickly changing its role. Packaging is getting active and intelligent, able to monitor and interact with food and environment and maintain food freshness for longer, writes Dr Milka Sokolović.

EU’s proposed tax on burning plastic waste is counter-productive

The CO2 emissions reductions achieved by plastic recycling is very costly when compared to alternatives like wind energy and solar PV, while much energy can be extracted from burning plastic waste, argue Raymond Gradus and Henriëtte Prast.

Why tracking the movement of plastic litter in the oceans is crucial

Five countries at the last G7 summit in Canada signed a Plastics Charter, recognising the need to speed up global action on marine plastics pollution. An IPCC-type framework is now needed to address the issue, writes Dr. Erik van Sebille.
27-04-2018

Plastic-to-fuel, only fuelling fantasy

In light of the challenges that countries are facing due to China’s new standards on plastic recyclables imports, some controversial disposal methods have been getting increased attention, despite the myriad of concerns surrounding them, write Claire Arkin and Janek Vahk.
25-04-2018

Time for an eco-design revolution on carpets and mattresses

A lot more must be done to incentivise everyday product recyclability, writes Ward Mosmuller. Bulky products that are not recycled today – like carpets, mattresses and furniture – would be a good place to start, he argues.
20-04-2018

Circular bio-economy supports growth and mitigates climate change impact

A European strategy for bio-economy should take the structural differences of different member states into account while also promoting and reinforcing a common vision for the sector, write Carina Håkansson and Mårten Larsson.
Energy 09-04-2018

Renewables law could lock EU into costly burning technologies

The EU Council’s position on the recast Renewable Energy Directive (REDII), if adopted, could lock EU member states into expensive and polluting waste-to-energy technologies that contradict the circular economy and climate objectives, writes Janek Vahk.
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03-04-2018

Dumping garbage overseas is not the right way to go

During the recent meeting of the World Trade Organisation Council for Trade in Goods, some representatives raised concerns about China’s ban on “foreign garbage” import. Some even asked China to halt its implementation. Zhang Ming explains China's position.

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