Many strong economies have developed strategies to foster the circular economy. But what do we know about how these plans impact developing and emerging countries? Do the strategies itself take the effects on developing and emerging countries into account? Which risks and opportunities arise from a shift to a circular economy in industrialised countries to developing and emerging countries? This project analysed some of these effects. The project's key recommendations and highlights are published in the project report.
In its last coalition agreement (2016-2021), the State of Berlin committed itself to the "Zero Waste" model in order to transform its waste management towards a circular economy. Re-using goods takes centre stage in this transformation. In the context of the political goal of strengthening the reuse of used goods, the project aims at supporting and executing re-use measures in Berlin in order to foster structures and actors in Berlin that bring the used goods market out of its niche. The Ecologic Institute supports the project for the Berlin Senate Administration by designing and conducting three virtual expert dialogues in Berlin.
The transition towards sustainability entails addressing systemic and interrelated resource challenges. Via the project "Assessment of resource nexus-related challenges and opportunities in the context of the European Green Deal", Ecologic Institute supports the European Environment Agency (EEA) in its objective to foster a better understanding on these topics for the European policy community and stakeholders. The project serves as background to an EEA briefing on the topic.
Ecomodulation of fees can play a crucial role in incentivising upstream design changes by reducing the fees for products or packaging designed for circular economy. Products or packaging with circular design (e.g., a minimum percentage of recycled content, high reparability index, reduction in weight of material, shift from low to easily recyclable material(s)) could benefit from reduced fees, while those with design barriers, which are also often exported to developing countries for end-of-life treatment, could incur higher fees. Thus, ecomodulation of fees can play a vital role in prioritizing design for as waste prevention, reusability, reparability and recyclability. Against this background, this project run by Ecologic Institute focuses on the product streams batteries, plastic/packaging, textiles and waste electric and electronic equipment (WEEE).
In current environmental policy debates on resource conservation, the Netherlands are often cited as a good-practice example because of these absolute reduction targets. In this project, Susanne Langsdorf and Laurens Duin explored the Dutch targets and the vision for a circular economy. They shed light on the development, structure and implementation of the Dutch Circular Economy Program and related policy processes, including the established monitoring program.
Thuringia is one of the first German states to draft its own resource conservation strategy. This requires a solid data basis on the resource flows of the state. In the ThüRess project, Ecologic Institute and the Institute of Economic Structures Research (GWS) are developing this database as well as measures for such a resource conservation strategy.
In this project, Climact and Ecologic Institute analysed the impact assessment for the new EU climate target proposed by the Commission in September 2020. After examining policy options and modelling results, they were compared with recent studies, in particular with Climact's modelling results for 2030. A policy brief highlights key points where the Commission differs from other studies and identifies climate change potentials that deserve more attention in future analyses.
Textiles, including clothing, are a priority product category for the circular economy and one of the focus sectors of the new Circular Economy Action Plan. The textiles sector is a relevant economic sector in the EU, both in terms of job and value creation as well as regarding environmental and social footprint. Environmental pressures from the sector through the use of resources, water, land and chemicals are significant. The impacts occur in every phase of the life cycle: from production of fibres and products to distribution, the use of clothing, collection, sorting and recycling, and the final management of waste.
This research project explores whether strengthening the concept of extended product responsibility in international law has the potential of noticeably improving waste management in the Global South. The concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) aims at taking into account waste management issues during the entire life cycle of a product (cradle-to-grave approach). Its main purpose is to reduce the costs of waste management for local authorities and taxpayers, while at the same time providing incentives for producers to design their products so that they are easier to recycle and dispose of in an environmentally sound manner, generating less waste overall.
Global extraction of primary raw materials has been growing continuously for decades, and absolute decoupling between economic growth and resource consumption, let alone environmental impacts associated with the use of natural resources, has not yet been achieved. Although political attention for the issues of resource efficiency, resource conservation and the circular economy has been high for some years at on the international, European and national level, scientific studies call for more ambitious policy approaches in order to achieve global sustainability goals and respecting planetary boundaries in the long term. It therefore appears necessary to further develop resource policies at international and national level.
A torn plastic bag on the riverbank or a yoghurt cup floating in the water are symptoms of serious interference with the highly complex system of seas, the ocean and flowing waterways. The Plastic Pirates – Go Europe! project focuses on this plastic waste problem and our future handling of it. It aims to familiarise young people with the general topic of the ocean and water cycles in the process. They will learn what it means to work scientifically – and try their hand at it.
The project "Circular City Berlin – from potential towards implementation (CiBER 1)" analyses and promotes innovative approaches to the circular economy in various sectors in Berlin. In view of the expected further growth, urban densification and increased economic prosperity of the metropolitan region Berlin, a long-term sustainable design of urban resource flows is increasingly coming into focus. The current corona situation complements the focus on resilient regional and local economic processes. Local and regional circular value creation is more sustainable, increases the resilience of societies in times of crisis and strengthens social justice and inclusiveness.