Session Title: Pathways towards a Circular Economy
Time: 3:15 – 3:45pm
Session Type: tba
We know that the world is in a crisis. And still, we do not act, at least not collectively and as would be appropriate in an emergency mode. In my presentation, I explore the reasons behind this inaction. I lay out the strategies of people to cope with emergencies: fight, denegation, agony, panic. I examine the role of an appealing vision of the future to get us into action. I describe why and how a circular economy approach can form such a perspective and how it is put into practice already today.
Richard Buckminster Fuller (1969): Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale und Edwardsville
Peter Singer (2013): Praktische Ethik. 3. rev. und erw. Aufl., Reclam, Stuttgart
Stephen Gardiner, David A. Weisbach (2016): Debating Climate Ethics, Oxford University Press, Oxford
Thomas Rau, Sabine Oberhuber (2018): Material Matters, 2. Auflage, Econ, Berlin
Henny ter Huerne
Robin de Graaf
The Netherlands aims to reduce primary raw material consumption to 50% in 2030 and to achieve a fully circular economy (CE) in 2050. The construction industry is resource-intensive, being considered as the highest priority. However, being a novel concept, a lack of shared understanding and common languages can be found among scholars, which impedes the implementation of the CE in reality. Large quantities of questions among scholars are concerning the circularity measurement. It is widely agreed that the Material Circularity Indicator (MCI) developed by Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Granta Design (2015) is the most ambitious circularity framework and can be served as a good starting point (Linder et al., 2017). In this study, two limitations inherent in the MCI are focused in order to develop a standard circularity metric, aiming to help the construction companies estimate how advanced on their way from linear to circular. One of the limitations concern the unit (mass) used in the MCI, which implies the materials with larger quantities have a relatively higher value in a CE; however, the value scarcity of materials/products is not considered. The shortcoming of the mass unit is revised by complementing the economic value of materials, instead of focusing only on physical units. Furthermore, in the MCI, the quantities (weight) of a product will not change over time, which implies that the value embedded in the product also maintains the same throughout the whole life cycle. This assumption is not reliable when integrating the unit of economic value into the MCI; therefore, a new indicator “Residual Value (R)” is designed for the adjusted metric. Furthermore, in order to support an actual use, how to quantify the “R” is fundamental; hence, a residual value calculator is developed to support the circularity assessment. Overall, the differences between the adjusted metric and the MCI are the unit and the new indicator R. A case study approach is adopted to evaluate the effect of each adjustment (combined adjustment) compared with the MCI. The results show using mass unit causes calculation difficulties and inaccurate results, especially when light-weight (while valuable) materials are applied in the project. Furthermore, the results of with/without “R” are almost the same when the percentage of non-virgin feedstock and recoverable waste is low; therefore, it is recommended to consider the input of residual value when the circularity level is relatively high.
Ellen Macarthur Foundation & Granta Design. (2015). Circularity Indicators An Approch to Measuring Circularity Retrieved from https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/assets/downloads/insight/Circularity-Indicators_Project-Overview_May2015.pdf
Linder, M., Sarasini, S., & van Loon, P. (2017). A metric for quantifying product‐level circularity. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 21(3), 545-558.
Life cycle gap analysis (LCGA) is a particular technique to interpret life cycle assessment (LCA) results from a circular economy (CE) perspective in order to identify potentials for further improvement of products sustainability (Dieterle, Schäfer and Viere 2018). The presentation conceptualizes an extension of the methodology by integrating economic cost assessments in terms of eco-efficiency. The visualization of the results in an eco-efficiency portfolio allows to identify barriers and drivers of business models for circular and sustainable products. It therefore supports innovation and technology managers, product designers and engineers by analyzing the consequences of their ideas and decisions with regard to both, the vision of CE and the actual consequences for current life cycle systems.
Dieterle, M., Schäfer, P., & Viere, T. (2018). Life Cycle Gaps: Interpreting LCA Results with a Circular Economy Mindset. (ScienceDirect, Ed.) Procedia CIRP, 69, pp. 764-768. doi: 10.1016/j.procir.2017.11.058
Francesco Di Maio
The plastic value chain is faced multiple challenge to make more sustainable production and consumption patterns. Many critical issues affect the recycling and re-manufacturing processes. The increasing complexity in design, the lack of recycling infrastructure and the weak market of secondary plastics (SPs) have been contributing to the inefficiency and mismanagement of End-Of-Life (EoL) plastic goods. Closed-loop recycling is most practical when recyclability is considered in the design phase. The redesign of the plastic_based system is one of the major issues discussed by the European Commission (EC) nowadays. EC has highlighted plastics as strategic materials in the Closing the Loop Action Plan becoming the key topic in the European Strategy for plastics in a circular economy. Since each EU Member State (MS) has to transpose the European Directives in two years, an incisive maneuver is essential to push the plastic economy towards sustainability and circularity. The present work adopts a systemic approach going beyond the manufacturing stage of a product and embracing the whole life cycle. Potential recycling and recyclability of plastic packaging has been deeply investigated in order to overcome the limitations related to the low value of plastics reprocessing, the low income of secondary market and therefore the low diffusion of an after-use plastics economy. The challenges involves not only technical and technological aspects but also legislative ones; economic and social factors have also considered to create a wider and systemic impact. The experimentation is intended to have a supporting function in improving recyclability in one side and recycling (and circularity) in another. The closure of the loop is estimated through the value_based circularity indicator aimed to push high quality of post-consumer recycled (PCR) resource. The increase in value will boost the upcycling and in particular the use of recycled plastics in high-value applications fostering the after-use plastics economy.
Asheim, B. T., & Gertler, M. S. (2009). The Geography of Innovation: Regional Innovation Systems. In The Oxford Handbook of Innovation. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199286805.003.0011
Di Maio, F., & Rem, P. C. (2015). A Robust Indicator for Promoting Circular Economy through Recycling. Journal of Environmental Protection. https://doi.org/10.4236/jep.2015.610096
Iacovidou, E., Velis, C. A., Purnell, P., Zwirner, O., Brown, A., Hahladakis, J., … Williams, P. T. (2017). Metrics for optimising the multi-dimensional value of resources recovered from waste in a circular economy: A critical review. Journal of Cleaner Production. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.07.100
Lazarevic, D., Aoustin, E., Buclet, N., & Brandt, N. (2010). Plastic waste management in the context of a European recycling society: Comparing results and uncertainties in a life cycle perspective. Resources, Conservation and Recycling. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2010.09.014
Paletta, A., Leal Filho, W., Balogun, A.-L., Foschi, E., & Bonoli, A. (2019). Barriers and challenges to plastics valorisation in the context of a circular economy: Case studies from Italy. Journal of Cleaner Production. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.118149