Content of this unit
Opportunities for implementation
· The European Union has a Circular Economy action plan. Products conception, production processes, consumption rules, quality standards in using waste as a resource; are some of the debated measures. This goes from the creation of new standards to new legislation and environmental national goals.
· Priority materials to be re-used for EU:
- Plastics (recyclability, biodegradability, presence of hazardous substances in some plastics, marine pollution). – To learn more watch the video New plastic economy!
- Food waste (sustainable consumption, waste reduction, consumer awareness, etc.).
- Critical raw materials such as precious metals, phosphorus, etc. (subject to supply shortages or high environmental impact on their production).
- Waste from construction and demolition (from the largest sources of waste in the EU in terms of volume).
- Biomaterials (biomass, wood, textiles - high recyclability, biodegradability, or composting).
· Industrial symbiosis: Communities of industries, businesses and services from different sectors, which cooperate efficiently, exchanging resources - materials (waste and by-products), energy, water - and services.
· Recycling & down-cycling: by converting waste into new materials and objects (recycling) and / or breaking an item down the waste into its component elements or materials (down-cycling). Once the constituent elements or materials are recovered, they are reused if possible but usually as a lower-value product. The goal of down-cycling is reducing waste and improving the efficiency of resource use.
· Shared logistic: aims to rationalize logistics work, improving work efficiency at delivery points, and cutting transport costs and environmental impact, compared with the conventional systems separately set-up. For example, collaborative delivery can trim costs by improving vehicle loading ratio and reducing the number of delivery vehicles, and also can make positive impact in light of urban traffic congestion and global warming.
· Eco-design, also called sustainable design, environmental design, environmentally sustainable design, environmentally conscious design, among other names, is the philosophy of designing physical objects, the built environment, and services in accordance with the social sustainability, economic and ecological principles. The “shape” should follows the “environment” and not is “function”.
· From product to service: for a number of years’ successful companies transformed their business by shifting focus from selling products to providing services. Many manufacturing companies are offering complete solutions to business problems which are combinations of products and services and coming with innovating way to charge for them.
To learn more, watch video: The Circular Ecoomy: from consumer to user