NEWS

11 November 2019

CIRC-PACK reveals barriers to circularity at Ecomondo workshop

On 7 November 2019, CIRC-PACK’s Italian partners were in full swing at the Economdo green technology expo in Rimini, Italy, delivering  a roundtable and workshop on the circular economy of the plastic packaging value chain.

Featuring our partners FATER, Novamont, RINA and Centro Ricerche Fiat, the events took conference-goers closer to CIRC-PACK innovations, but also explored the key barriers to a circular economy for plastic packaging.

The roundtable and workshop made for intense discussions with conference-goers, who identified both legislative barriers and a lack of economic and financial incentives as the main barriers to a circular economy for plastic packaging.

On the flipside, 25 per cent of conference-goers told CIRC-PACK that economic and financial incentives were clearly the main driver(s) towards progress on circularity. But nearly a quarter (22 per cent) of workshop participants also said that campaigns to raise awareness among consumers were a major factor for progress with plastic packaging.

The CIRC-PACK project runs until end of April 2020, so stay tuned over the coming months for projects results as we: shocase new bioplastics from renewable resources; create innovate eco-designs for plastic packaging, and; present new innovations in enhanced sorting and recycling.

For more, watch the video on YouTube!

7 October 2019

EU plastics projects join forces – “multiplier effect” to boost circular economy in Europe

Twenty innovation projects joined forces today to boost European Union efforts towards a circular economy for plastics. The ‘Plastics Circularity Multiplier’ group will communicate to policy makers, the public and industry on a range of EU-funded innovations – innovations that aim to bring plastic materials into the circular economy of the future and create new business opportunities and jobs in Europe.

Launched on 7 October in Brussels, the newly formed group will pool resources and expertise to “multiply” key messages from the ecosystem of projects that receive funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. More than 300 projects dealing with plastics in a circular economy have been supported by the FP7 and Horizon 2020 programmes – part of the EU’s global push to invest in circular economy solutions to achieve the goals of the 2018 EU Plastics Strategy.

“The investment that the EU is making in the circular economy is on such a scale that it’s vital to communicate what that means for the environment, citizens, businesses and cities across the continent,” said Alexandre Dangis of DEMETO, the project leading the group.

“With the initial participation of 19 projects, the Plastics Circularity Multiplier will look to boost our impact, but also identify the regulatory barriers to be overcome and the investment needed if we are to put in place a truly circular economy for plastics in the EU,”  added Mr Dangis.

The first round of results by the Plastics Circularity Multiplier will come in the summer of 2020 – earmarked for a Brussels conference showcasing synergies among the participant projects.

The Plastics Circularity Multiplier will go on to open up its activities and participation in September 2020 to all ongoing EU projects, whether in Horizon 2020 or in the new Horizon Europe framework programme.

As Mr Dangis explains, “The group aims to complement existing resources set up by the EU institutions, such as the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform, the EASME Project Data Base, and the ‘Innovation Radar’ – all designed to engender a veritable ecosystem of EU investments in the circular economy and innovation.”

The initiative is managed by EuPC, as Communication and Dissemination leader of the DEMETO project, with the participation of other Horizon 2020 Projects in the field of plastics circularity:

CIRC-PACK, Circular Flooring, CREAToR, DECOAT, FiberEUse, HARMONI, iCAREPLAST, ISOPREP, MultiCycle, NONTOX, PlastiCircle, polynSPIRE, PUReSmart, REACT, REMADYL, REPAIR3D, SMARTFAN and TERMINUS.

Life project REPOLYUSE has also joined the initiative as guest participant.

25 July 2019

EIB, banking institutions launch EUR 10 billion circular economy initiative

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has teamed up with multiple national banking institutions to support the circular economy in Europe. The partnership will target more than EUR 10 billion of investments to prevent waste, increase resource efficiency and foster innovation across multiple sectors of the European economy.

On 18 July 2019, the Luxembourg-based EIB announced it had teamed up with five “national promotional banks and institutions” from Poland, France, Italy, Spain and Germany to deliver the Joint Initiative on Circular Economy (JICE) with initial investments spanning the next five years (2019-2023).

Supporting the circular economy transition

According to the EIB, JICE will provide “loans, equity investment or guarantee eligible projects and develop innovative financing structures for public and private infrastructure, municipalities, private enterprises of different size (sic) as well as for research and innovation projects”.

In particular, this means supporting investments in European Union member states that accelerate the transition to a circular economy, targeting all stages of the value chain and life cycle of products and services.

This will include investments in circular design and production – applying “reduce and recycle” strategies to design out waste at source – and enabling the “reuse, repair, repurposing, refurbishing or remanufacturing of products in use phase”. The recovery of material and other resources from waste will be equally important.

Stemming the tide of waste

EIB president Werner Hoyer said: “Fighting global warming and environmental crises is the most urgent challenge of our time. Strengthening the circular economy is one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal. It will not only help the Paris Agreement target but also bring huge benefits for the economy and society.”

Dr Hoyer added: “With the Joint Initiative on Circular Economy, we are scaling up our ambition and joining forces with our peers to stem the tide of waste.”

The five banking institutions joining the EIB in the initiative are: Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK), Groupe Caisse des Dépôts (CDC) (France), Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (Italy), Instituto de Crédito Oficial (Spain) and Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) (Germany).

30 May 2019

Euronews features CIRC-PACK innovations, expertise in new segment on sustainable products

International media channel Euronews has featured the CIRC-PACK project in its latest Futuris segment on European companies producing sustainable products.

With features via both euronews.com and YouTube (watch 3:58-8:45), viewers can see first-hand what innovations project partner Novamont is developing at its facilities in Novara, Italy, in addition to expert analysis by Andrea Božić of Saponia, Montserrat Lanero of CIRCE and Belén Ramos of OCU.

Euronews takes a close look at the recipe and techniques for producing biodegradable and compostable bioplastics at the Novamont research and development facilities – bioplastics which comprise such a crucial part of the CIRC-PACK project.

“Over time and given the right conditions in terms of industrial composting or ‘biograding’ underground, molecules of these bioplastics break down little by little thanks to the actions of these micro-organisms,” explains CIRC-PACK partner and Novamont researcher Alessandro d’Elicio.

“Over time these molecules will be transformed into something more elemental like organic carbon or simple compost.”

Luigi Capizzi, Head of R&D at Novamont, adds that projects such as CIRC-PACK “do not want to simply replace one product with another”.

“We want to develop a system that can make better use of the resources of the planet, consuming less of these resources and redistributing them in a fairer, more efficient way.”

Europe produces around 25 million tonnes of plastic waste every year. Not even a third is recycled, and the rest is either incinerated or ends up as landfill. Solutions are needed urgently.

For Andrea Božić of Croatian company Saponia, bioplastics are already used in the items they produce – such as the inside of detergent packaging.

“We are starting with certain types of products, (we) use this type of plastic, and simply teach our consumers that this is better – for them and for our environment. So in time, when we notice that they have accepted this type of plastic or this type of product packaging, we will simply broader it to our other products.”

So along with research and innovation, education will play a crucial role in fomenting the uptake of more eco-friendly products, as part of European efforts in the field.

According to Montserrat Lanero of CIRCE, “there are many countries in northern Europe whose plastic waste management system is well implemented and developed”. However, this is not the reality in many other countries, where citizens don’t know the implications of bad management when it comes to plastics ending up as marine litter or entering the food chain.

“One of our main challenges is to understand the needs of each European country to be able to find as many adapted solutions as we can,” she adds.

Initiatives such as CIRC-PACK have turned to the concept of “citizen science” to understand what social and market expectations are when it comes to reinforcing the circular economy in the plastics sector.

For Belén Ramos of Spanish consumer body OCU, empowering the citizen is key:

“Often they (the citizens) don’t realise that their shopping decisions are very important in moving the market towards more sustainable trends. But we also need to empower the market so it can give a wider array of choice to the consumers.”

The Futuris segment, 'How companies across Europe are creating sustainable products using less water and less energy', will continue to air live during June 2019 and will then be available on demand via the Euronews website and YouTube channel.