Circular Economy Package

DEFINITION: Proposed EU legislation which includes revised legislative proposals on waste to stimulate Europe's transition towards a circular economy which will boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs.

The Circular Economy Package: A potted history…

Although waste management across the EU has improved considerably over the past couple of decades, almost a third of municipal waste is still landfilled and less than half is recycled or composted, with wide variations between Member States.

In 2014, the European Commission (EC) put forward an initial Circular Economy Package to address the issue and help European businesses and consumers make the transition to a circular economy where waste is seen as a ‘resource’ that can be recycled, re-used or remanufactured.

In December 2015, the EU controversially withdrew the Circular Economy Package and re-tabled a revised version. The Commission claimed the new recycling targets would present a stiff but achievable challenge for some Member States, but green groups said that the only ambition shown had been for “watering down” targets.

The Package will be backed by €5.5bn from the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) and €650m from Horizon 2020 (the EU funding programme for research and innovation). 

What is the current state of play with EU waste policy?

The 2008 Waste Framework Directive sets the overarching legislative framework for EU waste policy. The Directive sets binding targets to be achieved by 2020: preparing for reuse and recycling of 50% of certain waste materials from households and similar sources, and preparing for reuse, recycling and other recovery of 70% of construction and demolition waste.

Meanwhile, the 1999 Landfill Directive bans landfilling of untreated waste. The Directive sets a goal that the share of biodegradable municipal waste going to landfills may not be greater than 35% in 2016, compared to the baseline year of 1995.

The Packaging Waste Directive waste aims to protect the environment and to safeguard the functioning of the internal market. It requires Member States to take measures to prevent packaging waste and to develop packaging reuse systems.

When will the Package be enforced?

The Package is currently going through the EU legislative process. Before the Circular Economy Package is passed into law, all three European institutions (the European Council, European Parliament and the European Commission) must have an agreed stance, which they will then take into a series of discussions.

Both European Parliament and Council of Ministers can amend the legislation but must agree upon an identical text before those bills can become law. This means that a final package will likely not be established until the second half of 2017. Malta, which holds the rotating EU Presidency, has said it will try to reach a deal with MEPs before 1 July, when its six-month Presidential term ends.

Who does the Package effect?

The targets listed under the Circular Economy Package will be implemented by national governments across the 28 Member States that are in Europe, and are targeted at the waste performance of households and businesses.

It is anticipated that the measures set out in the Circular Economy Package will be completed before the UK leaves the EU, so the UK will be obliged to give effect to them for as long as it remains in the EU (see more on Brexit at the end of this article).

What are the targets listed under the Package?

The original Circular Economy Package intended to increase recycling levels and tighten rules on incineration and landfill. It consists of six individual bills on waste, packaging, landfill, end-of-life vehicles, batteries and accumulators, and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

The re-tabled package, unveiled in December 2015, included eco-design rules for products to make them easier to recycle. But it also had lower 2030 targets for recycling municipal and packaging waste, and replaced a 2025 aspirational landfill reduction target of 25% with a mandatory 10% goal for 2030.

But in a new development this week (14 March), Members of the Parliament (MEPs) unanimously rejected these ”watered-down” ambitions. The plenary vote has advocated to reinstate the 70% target for municipal waste recycling, strengthening current proposals by 5%.

Meanwhile, a 2030 target for packaging recycling was voted to be 80% - higher than the 75% previously backed by the Commission. And the waste-to-landfill target has been restricted to 5%, replacing a mandatory target of 10% by 2030. MEPs have also voted for a European Union (EU) food waste reduction target of 30% by 2025 and 50% by 2030, compared to 2014.

The Package also includes a series of other measures and targets, including:

  • The promotion of economic instruments to discourage landfilling;
  • A ban on landfilling of separately collected waste;
  • Simplified and improved definitions and harmonised calculation methods for recycling rates throughout the EU;
  • Concrete measures to promote re-use and stimulate industrial symbiosis - turning one industry's by-product into another industry's raw material;
  • Economic incentives for producers to put greener products on the market and support recovery and recycling schemes (e.g. for packaging, batteries, electric and electronic equipment, vehicles).

Are those circular economy targets legally-binding?

Four legislative proposals contained in the Package are legal acts: Waste Framework Directive; Landfilling Directive; Packaging Waste Directive; Directives on end-of-life vehicles, on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators, and on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

However, the 2030 food waste targets are only a voluntary aim, and campaigners are now calling for the 50% reduction target to become legally-binding at Member State level.

What are the pros and cons of the Package?

The proposed actions aim to contribute to "closing the loop" of product lifecycles through greater recycling and re-use, and bring benefits for both the environment and the economy. The Commission states that the measures could bring net savings of €600bn or 8% of annual turnover for businesses in the EU and will reduce total annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2-4%.

But the financial benefits of the Package at a national level are less clear. According to one recent report from UK-based organisation Policy Exchange, British businesses could in fact lose as much as £2bn over the next 20 years as a result of the Package. Policy Exchange’s head of environment and energy Howard told edie that the EU Package is “ill-defined”, “poorly thought through” and ultimately represents a poor waste management system for the UK.

A number of other serious side-effects to the Package have been highlighted by UK waste experts, such as the use of European weight-based recycling targets, which often focus recycling on heavier materials whether or not they are the highest environmental priority.

Given that the UK is currently struggling with some of the existing recycling targets, it remains to be seen whether the UK Government would benefit from the implementation of these new measures in the run up to, and after, leaving the EU.

How will Brexit impact the UK’s involvement in the Circular Economy Package?

The UK Government is expected to trigger its two-year negotiation period for leaving the EU this month, giving a departure date of early 2019.

If the UK wishes to continue participation in the single market, it would need to sign up to the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement (EEAA). A quick look at the current state of legislation confirms that if the UK adopted this route post-Brexit, actually very little would change in relation to environmental controls and the majority of legislative proposals that form part of the Package once enacted would continue to apply to the UK.

However, the big stumbling block with EEA membership will be the requirement to adhere to the principle of the free movement of people. Many EU leaders have stated publicly that the UK will not be allowed to introduce such controls which would conflict with the free movement principle if it wishes to join the EEA. For that reason, membership of the EEA at the moment seems very unlikely.

As a result, the UK would not be directly bound by many of the EU environmental controls, including those relating to the Circular Economy Package. If concepts in the Package, such as minimum recycled content in certain products, are brought forward, then these obligations would apply indirectly to the UK because they would affect products being supplied into the EU. However, other elements of the Package, such as recycling targets, would not directly apply to the UK and the level of ambition in this area would be left in the Government’s hands.

The likelihood is that, even without a direct or indirect obligation from the EU to adopt the Circular Economy Package, the UK will need to take its own steps to incorporate the circular economy concept into its own policies and from there to introduce its own legal controls.

See also: Circular economy

Related items

Sustainability experts from an array of businesses came together in London to discuss the potential solutions to energy and waste issues related to the circular economy

Circular roundtable: How can businesses accelerate the resource revolution?

Sustainability and corporate responsibility managers from a range of businesses recently gathered in London for an exclusive roundtable hosted by edie and EDF Energy, to discuss how organisations are stepping up efforts to accelerate a circular economy.

The rebrand marks the first time Toast Ale has used bright colours – and its first foray into canned beverages

'Planet-saving' beer: Inside Toast Ale's climate-focused rebrand

EXCLUSIVE: Yorkshire-based brewer Toast Ale's decision to rebrand was the "natural choice" amid rapidly growing public awareness around climate change, the firm's sustainability director has revealed.

The Royal Society of Chemistry's chief executive Robert Barker, pictured with some of the redundant tech gathered by staff at the organisation’s Cambridge HQ during an amnesty

Hoarding old gadgets 'preventing circular economy shift' and 'spurring rare mineral shortages'

The fact that most UK households are hoarding old digital gadgets with no plans to recycle them is a key barrier to implementing circular economy principles for e-waste, the Royal Society of Chemistry has claimed.

(L-R) Presenter Beth Knight, corporate responsibility director, EY, JPA Furniture’s Fiona Edwards and Chris Holder and compere Michaela Strachan

Meet the sustainability leader: Social Sustainability & Community Development - JPA Furniture

With entries now open for edie's Sustainability Leaders Awards 2020, this new feature series showcases the achievements of the 2019 winners and reveals their secrets to success. Up next: The winner of our Social Sustainability & Community Development Award, JPA Furniture.

The guide is bookended by an insightful foreword from Green Alliance's Libby Peake, and an industry viewpoint penned by Helistrat's chief executive Harvey Laud

Resources & Waste Strategy: edie publishes concise business guide to Government document

edie has today (14 August) published a free guide for sustainability and environmental professionals which breaks down everything they need to know about the UK Government's Resources & Waste Strategy into a single, easy-to-read document.

Shifting away from plastic to other materials for single-use containers – such as cans, glass and cartons – will not resolve the problem, Green Alliance claims

Britain's single-use sustainability crisis extends far beyond plastic, says Green Alliance

Shifting materials for single-use containers away from plastic will not resolve the overall issue, according to a new infogaphic-based report from Green Alliance.

M&S has a 36.5% market share for bras and already fits more than half of all women in the UK

M&S launches bra recycling campaign

Recycling of lingerie is now being encouraged by Marks and Spencer (M&S) under its new "love your boobs" campaign. 

(L-R) Presenter David Taylor Smith, chief executive PHS, Canary Wharf Group team and compere Michaela Strachan

Meet the Sustainability Leader: Waste Management - Canary Wharf Group

With entries now open for edie's Sustainability Leaders Awards 2020, this new feature series showcases the achievements of the 2019 winners and reveals their secrets to success. Up next: The winner of our Waste Management & Resource Efficiency Award, Canary Wharf Group (CWG).

The innovative material will be used to make some of Burberry's most recognisable designs. Image: Burberry

Burberry debuts closed-loop clothing made using 'ghost nets'

Luxury fashion house Burberry has revealed designs for a new capsule collection made using recycled nylon, woven from plastic fibres recovered from discarded fishing nets.

Humanity currently uses 1.75 Earths' worth of resources annually - which could rise to two Earths' worth by 2030 if businesses, governments and individuals don't make radical circular economy shifts 

Earth Overshoot: Seven top tips for making your business 'one-planet compatible'

Held to mark Earth Overshoot Day 2019 (29 July), edie's most recent webinar saw experts from Tesco, AB Sugar, Global Footprint Network and Centrica Business Solutions discuss how businesses can operate within planetary boundaries. Here, edie rounds up the key takeaways.

BHP operates across three of the world's most carbon-intense sectors: Minerals, mining and petroleum 

Hard-to-abate no more? BHP, Cargill set new visions for decarbonisation

Mining and metals giant BHP and agri-food multinational Cargill have unveiled ambitious new decarbonisation targets, in a sign that hard-to-abate sectors are beginning to bolster their climate ambitions.

The current trend means that humanity is consuming the resources of 1.7 Earths in a year

Earth Overshoot Day: Planet's yearly resource 'budget' already spent

Humanity has today (29 July) used up its annual allowance of natural resources for 2019, sparking calls for businesses and citizens to re-examine approaches to consumption and consumerism.

The webinar is available to watch on demand

Available to watch on demand: edie's Earth Overshoot webinar

edie's latest webinar, which took place Monday 29 July and will saw sustainability experts from Tesco, AB Sugar and the Global Footprint Network discuss how business can champion the circular economy to push back Earth Overshoot Day - the day that humanity uses up all of the planet's natural resources for the year - is available to watch on demand.

New finance structures for public and private infrastructure will also be developed

EU banks launch €10bn circular economy funding pot

Five major banks located and operating within the European Union (EU) have agreed to work with the European Investment Bank (EIB) on a €10bn initiative to promote circular economy projects.

Napapijri has also developed a digital take-back scheme to enable customers to return the jackets to be recycled 

Napapijri showcases fully recyclable jacket made from discarded fishing nets

Fashion brand Napapijri has unveiled a fully recyclable jacket made from discarded fishing nets and fabric scraps from mills and carpets.

One-planet compatibility is also a way to demonstrate companies’ comprehensive contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the report added

Earth Overshoot Day: What is the business case for one-planet compatibility?

Monday 29 July will mark Earth Overshoot Day - the day that humanity uses up all of the planet's natural resources for the year and the earliest it has ever occurred. In response, a new whitepaper explores how business can champion energy efficiency and the circular economy to become one-planet compatible.

The majority of high-street clothes are currently made from textile blends, which are hard to recycle and commonly contain fossil-fuel-derived content. Image: Inditex

Zara pledges 100% 'sustainable' fabrics by 2025

Fashion chain Zara is set to switch all collections to 100% "sustainable" fabrics by the start of 2025.

The fourth boat made its maiden voyage on Monday (15 July)

Hubbub launches fourth waste-cleaning boat made from recycled plastics

Environmental charity Hubbub has launched a fourth waste-cleaning boat made from recycled plastic, after partnering with beauty brand Kiehl's to fund a further expansion to its 'plastic fishing' initiative.

More than 40 companies have signed up to the new Guidelines

Fashion giants to 'transform' their jeans in circular economy drive

A coalition of big-name global fashion brands including H&M Group, Gap and Tommy Hilfiger have pledged to align their denim designs and manufacturing with a new circular economy framework.

The reverse vending machines enable automated collecting, sorting and handling of returned or used plastic bottles for recycling or reuse

Coca-Cola and Merlin Entertainments extend on-the-go plastic recycling initiative

Coca-Cola Great Britain has announced it has extended a project to place onsite reverse vending machines for plastic bottles at major UK attractions including Alton Towers Resort, Thorpe Park, and Legoland Windsor, after a trial collected more than 26,000 bottles last year.

Other signatories to the commitment include Kering, Marks & Spencer, Gap and Adidas

Fashion giants 'must 'urgently accelerate circular economy action'

Of the 213 circular economy targets for 2020 set by 90 big-name fashion companies taking part in a collaborative circular economy campaign, just one-fifth (21%) have been met.

The analysis was conducted using Defra’s own impact assessments

Deposit return system for plastics could generate £2bn for UK economy

An "all-in" deposit return system that accounted for all types of drinks cans and bottles in the UK could generate up to £2bn for the economy over a 10-year period, compared to £250m for an "on-the-go" system that collected less.

This week's innovations could prove transformational for the fashion, consumer goods and beverage sectors

Unilever's refills and the 'world's first' 100% recycled hoodie: The best green innovations of the week

Every week, numerous eye-catching and potentially transformational innovations are being developed to help businesses and nations turn their green ambitions into actions. Here, we round up six of the best.

The webinar will be available on demand after Earth Overshoot Day

edie's Earth Overshoot webinar: How business can #MoveTheDate through a circular economy

edie's next webinar, hosted in association with Centrica Business Solutions, will focus on how businesses can champion the circular economy and low-carbon innovation to help push back Earth Overshoot Day - the day that humanity uses up all of the planet's natural resources for the year.

Here, edie rounds up seven key lessons that Hugh and Anita’s War on Plastics was willing to teach. Image: BBCBBC/KEO Films/Tom Beard 

Seven things sustainability professionals can learn from Hugh and Anita's War on Plastic

The BBC's docuseries exploring how the public, government officials and corporates are fuelling an unsustainable demand for plastics concluded on Monday (24 June). Here, edie highlights seven key lessons that the series can teach sustainability professionals.

(L-R): CWG's head of sustainability Martin Gettings; Refinitiv's head of sustainability Luke Manning; Morgan Stanley's vice president Dylan Bexley and Less Plastic's founder Amanda Keetley discuss the future of the war on plastics

Beyond 'token' items: What's next for London's war on plastics?

Some 18 months ago, Blue Planet 2 first aired, spurring an exponential growth in public action against plastics that has changed what business and policy leadership look like. But what's next on the road to an economy free from unnecessary plastics?

A key focus of the strategy is that of the built environment. Image: Google

Google's new circular economy strategy to 'maximise reuse' across its operations

Tech giant Google has launched a new circular economy initiative aimed at addressing an "inherently unsustainable" demand for resources and products by leveraging the transformational potential of technology.

3M is also a member of the Climate Group's RE100 renewable electricity initiative 

Manufacturer 3M joins Ellen MacArthur Foundation's CE100 initiative

Multinational consumer goods, healthcare and industry manufacturer 3M has pledged to champion the circular economy and make the best use of the planet's resources by joining the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's CE100 initiative.

The trade organisations behind the recommendations collectively represent the majority of the four million people employed in the UK’s food and drink industry

Food and drink giants press for long-term policies on decarbonisation and circularity

A collection of more than 30 organisations across the UK's food and drink supply chain have urged Ministers to bolster policies around long-term decarbonisation, climate resilience and resource efficiency for the sector.

This week's innovations could help boost sustainable progress in the food, road transport and energy sectors 

Tarmac's recycled asphalt and Unilever's plastic-free boxes: The best green innovations of the week

Every week, numerous eye-catching and potentially transformational innovations are being developed to help businesses and nations turn their green ambitions into actions. Here, we round up six of the best.

edie explains: ISO 50001

This updated ISO 50001 guide, produced in association with edie's supporting partner Centrica Business Solutions, provides an in-depth summary of the ISO 50001 Standard which can be used by an organisation to establish and maintain a continuous level of energy performance improvements.

Image credits: Canary Wharf Group and Eden Project Communities

Sustainable Business Covered podcast: Net-zero announcements and plastic-free communities

Episode 65 of the Sustainable Business Covered podcast sees edie's content editor Matt Mace and reporter Sarah George discuss net-zero legislation before introducing three exclusive interviews focused on resource efficiency with Canary Wharf Group, the Eden Project and the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB).

Estée Lauder to develop refillable packaging as part of circular economy drive

US-based cosmetics giant Estée Lauder has vowed to develop reusable and refillable packaging by 2025, as part of a sweeping new set of resource efficiency commitments.

It does appear that we’re entering an era where a single lightning rod moment can spark global change

The Big Business Plastics Debate (Part Two): How can we create a 'ripple effect' of change?

In the second of our two-part feature from the Big Plastics Debate at edie Live 2019, we move the conversation on to explore how businesses and policymakers can harness the momentum of environmental campaigns and protests to drive a new 'social norm' around plastics.

More than 300,000 tonnes of used clothing is estimated to be landfilled in the UK every year

Fashion retailers team up to trial new closed-loop business models

A coalition of fashion retailers including Ted Baker are set to pilot more resource-efficient business models, such garment repair, resale and rental, to determine whether they are economically viable solutions to the sector's waste challenges.

From plastic packaging to fast-fashion, the new guide explains how businesses can accelerate the circular economy transition

Achieving a circular economy: New business guide launched by edie

Organisations looking to accelerate the transition to a circular economy now have access to a comprehensive 'edie explains' guide which breaks down everything there is to know about achieving a zero-waste world.

Talking single-use plastics with Lucy Siegle and Fiona Ball

edie's Mission Possible sofa chat show returns for 2019. In the second episode, edie discusses plastics with author, broadcaster and ethical living journalist Lucy Siegle and Sky's head of inspirational business Fiona Ball.

There's still time to register for a FREE pass to attend Day Two

Insight, inspiration and innovation continue into final day of edie Live 2019

Members of the UK's sustainability and energy management communities have descended upon the NEC in their thousands, with sessions at full capacity throughout the first day of edie Live 2019 and the action now set continue into the second and final day (22 May).

In some parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, plastic collection rates are currently stagnating at less than 10%

Governments and businesses urged to collaboratively support recycling in developing nations

Amid what Sir David Attenborough has dubbed an "unfolding catastrophe" of plastic pollution in developing nations, urgent calls have been made for governments and finance firms to make collective and "significant investment" in circular economy systems across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

ECC claims the target is "ambitious" and that it acknowledges the existence of a "Climate Emergency"

Edinburgh commits to become 'net-zero' carbon city by 2030

Edinburgh City Council (ECC) has pledged to ensure that the city operates on a "net-zero" carbon basis by 2030 - 15 years before Scotland's national net-zero target for 2045.

Circular economy solutions, onsite renewable energy generation and storage, and ground-source heat pumps are among the low-carbon technologies Rolls Royce is investing in

Circular economies and scenario analysis: How Rolls Royce is innovating for zero-carbon operations

EXCLUSIVE: As the UK Government mulls over whether to adopt a 2050 target for net-zero carbon emissions, engineering and aerospace giant Rolls Royce is going beyond the "low-hanging fruit" as it continues on its pathway to zero-carbon operations by 2030.

<p>To date, P&G has ensured that 86% of its product packaging is either recyclable or that programmes are in place to create the ability to recycle it</p>

Inside P&G's plastics packaging strategy

EXCLUSIVE: Procter & Gamble's principal scientist and packaging technologist, Gian De Belder, has outlined the company's five-pillar approach to improving the recyclability of its packaging through science-based studies and "Holy Grail" collaborative projects.

<p>This week has seen Farfetch launch its first resale service, Second Life, and join the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's 'Make Fashion Circular' initiative </p>

How Farfetch is uniting designers, retailers and shoppers to create a circular fashion economy

EXCLUSIVE: Digital fashion platform Farfetch has been serious about the circular economy since its foundation. But amid growing demands for more ambitious action on waste, its chief sustainability officer has told edie that the firm now views resale and repair as an "amazing commercial opportunity".

There's still time to register for your free pass to edie Live

Top 10 'must-attend' sessions at edie Live 2019

With a week to go until the show doors open, the edie editorial team picks 10 standout case studies set to take the stage at the UK's largest sustainability and energy exhibition, edie Live, as it returns to the NEC Birmingham on 21-22 May.

<p>edie will continue to add valuable news articles, features and exclusive interviews to the Mission Possible Plastics Hub throughout the year</p>

edie's Mission Possible campaign evolves with launch of dedicated Plastics Hub microsite

edie's Plastics Hub a content-driven campaign that will support sustainability and resource efficiency professionals on our collective mission to eliminate single-use plastics - has a new home on the Mission Possible microsite.

Registration for the free-to-attend show is open for sustainability, energy and environment professionals

Lucy Siegle confirmed for Sustainability Keynote at edie Live 2019

Renowned ethical living and environmental journalist Lucy Siegle completes a star-studded line-up of expert speakers appearing at the UK's largest sustainability and energy exhibition, edie Live, as it returns to the NEC Birmingham on 21-22 May.

The Tracker found that 22% of businesses placed net-zero carbon as a top two priority

Environment ranks behind health and wellbeing as main business priority

Environmental issues such as the circular economy and net-zero carbon targets have been highlighted as a main priority by more than one-third of UK businesses, second only to health and wellbeing, according to a new Responsible Business Tracker.

The ambition into action webinar is now available to watch on demand

Seven tips for turning your organisation's green ambitions into ACTION

During a sustainability leadership webinar hosted by edie last week, representatives from Tideway, Business in the Community (BITC), WSP and EDF Energy gave their advice for sustainability and energy professionals looking to turn green ambitions into tangible actions. Here, we round up their key takeaways.

edie Explains: The circular economy

This new and updated edie Explains guide breaks down everything there is to know about achieving a circular economy for your business.

The live, one-hour webinar will be available to watch on-demand for those who register

Now on demand: ambition into action webinar featuring Tideway, WSP and BITC

Listen now on demand to edie's exclusive one-hour webinar featuring sustainable business experts from Tideway, WSP, the BITC and EDF Energy, who will discuss how UK businesses can ramp up their efforts to reduce energy and resource use in 2019-20.

Apple's Daisy recycling robot is capable of disassembling 200 iPhones per hour

Apple to launch material recovery lab after ramping up circular economy drive

Technology giant Apple is set to open a new research and development lab focused on cl osed-loop solutions this year, after diverting more than 48,000 metric tonnes of electronic waste from landfill during 2018.

Ikea's 'People and Planet Positive' strategy includes a 2020 target of producing more renewable power than it uses

Ikea reveals mixed progress towards 'climate-positive' and circular economy goals

The world's largest furniture retailer has revealed that 70% of the materials used to make its products during 2018 were either renewable or recycled, as it strives to reach the 100% mark by 2030.

The company’s entire paper-based product packaging is currently on track to reach zero deforestation by 2020

HP pledges to make all printed pages 'forest positive'

HP will help customers transition to a low-carbon and resource-efficient future, after pledging that every page printed using an HP printer will be "forest positive".

Asda has also taken steps to make its plastic packaging more recyclable

Asda removes 6,500 tonnes of plastic from own-brand packaging

UK supermarket Asda has removed 6,500 tonnes of plastic from its own brand packaging over the last 12 months, the equivalent weight of around 600 million empty plastic bottles.

SolarVille aims to showcase how neighbourhood energy solutions could be created using blockchain

Ikea creates blockchain solution to "democratise" renewable energy

Plans have been created by furniture giant Ikea's innovation lab Space 10 to develop a blockchain-powered solar microgrid.

The bottle consists of 100% recycled material and is, in turn, 100% recyclable

SC Johnson launches industry-first 100% ocean plastic bottle

Home cleaning product manufacturer SC Johnson has developed the industry's first plastic bottle made entirely from recycled ocean plastic for its Windex cleaning brand.

Between $80bn and $120bn is lost from the global economy every year due to a non-circular system for plastic packaging

Business giants team up to combat plastic pollution 'leaks'

Adidas, Dow Chemical Company and McDonald's are among the 18 big-name businesses to have co-founded a new alliance aimed at creating frameworks to measure, map and reduce plastic and microplastic pollution across the globe.

The Government is concerned that a lack of digital record keeping in the waste industry is being frequently exploited by organised criminals

Government turns to blockchain to boost waste management transparency

The UK Government has unveiled plans to invest in startups which are using digital technologies like blockchain and machine learning to solve the nation's most pressing waste management issues.

Registration for free-to-attend show is now open for sustainability, energy and environment professionals

Turning ambition into action: edie Live returns for 2019 with host of new features

Collaborative workshops, a dedicated Plastics Hub and a Future Systems Hackathon are just some of the exciting new features that will be available edie Live 2019 as the UK's largest sustainability and energy exhibition returns to the NEC Birmingham on 21-22 May.

Around 300,000 tonnes of clothing is currently wasted each year in the UK, according to the EAC

Tax fashion brands to fund circular economy for garments, MPs urge

A group of MPs is calling on the UK Government to introduce policies which would see fashion brands pay a producer responsibility charge of 1p for every garment they produce, in addition to lower rates of tax for companies minimising the environmental footprint of their products.

UK recycling rates for plastic packaging have stagnated at between 38% and 45% for several years

Plastic budgets: Climate Change Act model could solve UK plastics crisis, MPs claim

Ahead of the Government's Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS) consultations, MPs are calling for the "urgent" introduction plastic waste legislation which follows the framework of the Climate Change Act, setting ever-stricter and legally binding recycling targets.

Ikea UK claims that the store, which it hopes will gain BREEAM ‘Excellent’ accreditation, is its most sustainable to date

Living Lagom in London: Inside Ikea's new 'leading' sustainable store

edie reporter Sarah George takes a trip to Greenwich to learn how Ikea's new store - touted as its "most sustainable" UK location to date - evidences the company's shift towards circularity and 'climate-positivity'.

Ikea is working towards an ongoing target of becoming “a truly circular retailer”

Ikea to launch furniture rental offering as part of circular economy shift

The world's largest furniture retailer has unveiled plans to rent its products to consumers for the first time, as it strives to become a 'net-positive' business by 2030.

This week's annual summit in Davos was the 48th hosted by the World Economic Forum

Davos 2019: Circular economy opportunities and everything else you may have missed

Over the past few days, sustainability professionals have been bombarded with reports and announcements as more than 3,000 business leaders, policymakers, thought leaders and Matt Damon gathered in Davos for the World Economic Forum (WEF). This round-up highlights the key talking points that you need to know.

One-third of the food produced for human consumption globally is currently wasted

Circular food 'revolution' could unlock $2.7trn per year, Ellen MacArthur study finds

Embedding circular economy principles within the global agri-food sector could contribute $2.7trn (£2.1trn) to the global economy through decreased healthcare and environmental restoration costs, a new Ellen MacArthur Foundation report has concluded.

SC Johnson chairman Fisk Johnson recently visited Indonesia to further explore the global plastic pollution problem

SC Johnson and Ellen MacArthur Foundation partner to spur circular economy progress

US-based consumer goods firm SC Johnson has forged a new circular economy partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in a bid to scale-up closed-loop solutions to the global plastics pollution problem.

Dhruv Boruah will be supporting edie’s Plastics Thinkathon at the Sustainability Leaders Forum on 5-6 February

Thinkathons and Hackathons: How new ways of thinking could solve the plastics problem

With awareness of plastic pollution at an all-time high, the onus is now on corporates to harness young and creative minds in innovative ways to solve the issue. Could 'Hackathons' and 'Thinkathons' hold the key?

According to PwC, the global economy could see a potential contribution of $15.7trn from AI by 2030

Report: AI could offer £167bn circular opportunity for food and electronics sectors each year

Artificial Intelligence (AI) could unlock almost £170bn in value a year for the food and consumer electronics industries alone by designing out waste by 2030, according to a new report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Google.

Circle Economy estimates that 62% of global emissions (excluding those from land use and forestry) are released during the extraction, and manufacturing of goods

'A 1.5C world is circular': Nations urged to drive resource productivity to reach climate goals

A new report released today (22 January) at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos has outlined the urgent need for nations to "wake up to the potential" of the circular economy in order to push the world towards the Paris Agreement's more ambitious pathway.

HPE helps its customers understand how participation in its end-of-life programmes can address the social and environmental impacts of IT transformation

Enel and Hewlett Packard Enterprise join CE100 to accelerate closed-loop transition

Enel Group and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) have become the latest corporate members of Circular Economy 100 (CE100), the innovation platform launched by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to accelerate closed-loop ambitions.

Over the two Thinkathon sessions, the group will explore how businesses can play a leading role in eliminating unnecessary single-use plastics

edie opens applications for 'Plastics Thinkathon' at Sustainability Leaders Forum

Sustainability, energy and resource efficiency professionals are being called upon to help businesses collectively solve the problem of plastics pollution by taking part in a unique 'Plastics Thinkathon' on the sidelines of edie's Sustainability Leaders Forum in London next month.

The deadline for nominations is this Friday, 18 January 2019

Nominations for edie's '30 Under 30' campaign close THIS FRIDAY

Ambitious young sustainability and energy professionals have until this Friday, 18 January, to apply for 30 Under 30 - an all-new networking programme created by edie for the next generation of business leaders to share ideas and further their careers.

Which resolutions will you pick?

19 New Year's resolutions for sustainability professionals in 2019

Love them or hate them, New Year's resolutions are a tool to motivate and inspire individuals to start a new calendar year with renewed focus. Here, edie has listed 19 resolutions for sustainability professionals in 2019 that will help businesses ignite a new era of leadership.

The 30-minute masterclass offers a taster of the brand new Sustainability Leadership Programme, developed by Cranfield University for edie's network of sustainability professionals

Available on demand: edie's 30-minute masterclass on stakeholder engagement

Sustainability professionals seeking to develop the skills needed to understand and engage with a range of stakeholders to optimise approaches to sustainability can now access a 30-minute masterclass webinar.

ASOS boss: The circular economy is the only way forward for fashion retailers

Fashion retailers that fail to adopt circular economy principles and encourage consumers to make their clothes last longer will fail to survive in a new era of consumer awareness, ASOS's chief executive Nick Beighton has argued.

The Environmental Audit Committee estimates that UK consumers are now buying an average of 26.7kg of new clothing every year

Is the fashion industry about to have its 'plastics moment'?

With MPs urging clothing brands to disclose impacts, consumers increasingly protesting "fast fashion" and documentaries on the true cost of cheap garments emerging at a pace, edie explores whether the fashion industry is set to have its "plastics moment".

JLL, Interface, Burger King, Nestle, Sainsbury’s, Sodexo and European Metal Recycling have all been selected as Waste to Wealth “Champions”

UK businesses target resource productivity through 'waste to wealth' commitment

A group of more than 40 major businesses including Unilever, Sky, Iceland and PwC have signed a new "waste to wealth" commitment that aims to double the UK's resource productivity by 2030.

Tetra Pak said in a statement that the partnership's work could double the overall value of used beverage cartons

Tetra Pak partners with Veolia to improve recyclability of beverage carton components

Packaging giant Tetra Pak has partnered with global resource and waste management firm Veolia to develop technologies and infrastructure that will enable all components of beverage cartons to be recycled within the European Union (EU).

In 2017, local authorities spent £700m on collecting and sorting recycling, compared with £73m from major businesses including leading supermarket chains and retailers

Retailers to pay up to £1bn for recycling under waste strategy

Supermarkets, retailers and major drinks brands are set to pay tens of millions of pounds more towards recycling their used packaging under the government's new waste strategy expected to be published this month, the Guardian understands.

Glasgow City Council is developing initiatives to implement closed-loop practices across the built environment, food, textiles, plastics and energy

Glasgow unveils ambition to become Scotland's first 'circular city'

Glasgow City Council has this week outlined a plan to become Scotland's first "circular city", by reducing its domestic and commercial waste footprint and implementing measures to encourage reuse and recycling.

The construction and built environment, energy infrastructure, food and drink and manufacturing sectors could all reap economic benefits by implementing closed-loop solutions

Scotland's cities can unlock £1bn circular economy boon, says report

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has urged Scotland's largest cities to transform waste processes and operations to capture a £1bn economic growth opportunity highlighted by a new Zero Waste Scotland report, released today (31 October).

The 30-minute masterclass offers a taster of the brand new Sustainability Leadership Programme, developed by Cranfield University for edie's network of sustainability professionals

edie's next 30-minute masterclass: How to engage with stakeholders on sustainability

Sustainability professionals seeking to develop the skills needed to understand and engage with a range of stakeholders to optimise approaches to sustainability are invited to take part in a free, online masterclass taking place on Wednesday 28 November.

PepsiCo to use 25% recycled content in plastics packaging by 2025

Beverage giant PepsiCo has revamped its approach to plastics by pledging to use 25% recycled content in plastic packaging by 2025 and working with suppliers and partners to advocate for improved recycling infrastructure and policy across the globe.

The UK and Scottish Governments are among the five governments and cities to sign up

Business giants join Ellen MacArthur Foundation's global commitment to eradicate plastics pollution

Business giants, financial investors, non-profit organisations and national Governments have vowed to eradicate plastic waste and pollution, as part of a new Global Commitment spearheaded by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Through the partnership, the two companies will invest in recycling structure capacity and develop new, closed-loop processes and business models

Unilever partners with Veolia to create circular economy for plastic packaging

Consumer goods giant Unilever has today (24 October) agreed a partnership with waste management Veolia, which will see the companies work together to develop innovative solutions to the plastic waste crisis.

The Government has shed more light on the implications a 'no deal' Brexit could have on the nation's green economy

Could a 'no deal' Brexit be a 'golden opportunity' for the UK's green economy?

In light of the Government’s latest wave of 'no deal' Brexit planning updates, resource management experts have claimed that the scenario could force the UK to manage its waste more efficiently.

Fashion industry 'playing catch-up' with the circular economy, says H&M Foundation

EXCLUSIVE: With reports continuing to reveal the extent of the environmental and social damage being caused by fast-fashion, not-for-profit sustainable development organisation H&M Foundation believes the industry is now on the cusp of a radical sustainability shift towards the circular economy.

P&G has pledged to ensure all packaging is 100% recyclable or reusable by 2030

P&G joins Circular Economy 100 to accelerate closed-loop transition

Procter & Gamble (P&G) is among four new corporate members of the Circular Economy 100 (CE100), the innovation platform launched by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to accelerate circular economy ambitions.

This week's best innovations could drive significant change across the packaging, waste management and fashion industries

Plastic-fighting bubbles and AI-powered bins: The best green innovations of the week

A number of eye-catching and potentially transformational innovations have emerged that could help businesses and nations accelerate the transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy. Here, edie rounds-up six of the best.

Take a look through all of the month's most-read news stories, and click the links in the descriptions below to read them for yourself

Plastics, Pledge Walls the potential 'death' of CSR: Top 10 sustainability stories of September 2018

Another month has passed which means it's time to remind ourselves of September's most-read sustainability stories and standout pieces of content from September - from massive plastic phase-outs and circular economy masterclasses to new supply chain commitments and a discussion about the future of CSR.

Unilever has committed to increasing the recycled plastic content in its packaging to at least 25% by 2025

Inside Unilever's plastics packaging strategy

EXCLUSIVE: Unilever's chief R&D officer David Blanchard has outlined the company's three-pillar approach to improving the recyclability of its product packaging, focusing on "less", "better" and "no plastics" solutions.

This 30-minute masterclass offered a taster of the full Sustainability Leadership Programme that has been developed by Cranfield University for edie's network of sustainability professionals

30-minute masterclass: Seven ways to adopt the circular economy across your business

During a 30-minute masterclass webinar hosted by edie last week, Cranfield University's senior lecturer in circular innovation Fiona Charnley outlined the essential skills needed to implement circular economy principles. Here, edie rounds up her key takeaways.

edie has published a free entry guide offering advice on submitting a potentially award-winning entry

LAST CHANCE to enter the Sustainability Leaders Awards 2019

Its Deadline day for the revamped Sustainability Leaders Awards, meaning that if you want your green business project, strategy or team to get the recognition it deserves, entries must be submitted by 5pm TODAY.

The 30-minute masterclass offers a taster of the brand new Sustainability Leadership Programme, developed by Cranfield University for edie's network of sustainability professionals

Available on demand: edie's 30-minute masterclass on implementing the circular economy

Sustainability professionals seeking to drive value from the transition to a circular economy can now watch the free 30-minute masterclass, which is available on demand.

(L-R): Presenter edie’s business development director David
Griffiths; Terracycle’s Caroline Frery; and compere Rufus Hound

Meet the Sustainability Leader: TerraCycle, P&G and SUEZ - Sustainable Supply Chains

With entries closing this week for edie's revamped 2019 Sustainability Leaders Awards, this new feature series will showcase the achievements of the 2018 winners, revealing their secrets to success. Up next: our 2018 Sustainable Supply Chains winners, TerraCycle, P&G and SUEZ.

SUEZ hosted a string of workshops to gauge stakeholder opinion on policy changes

SUEZ calls for extended producer responsibility system to spark 'waste revolution'

Waste and resource management firm SUEZ has called on the UK Government to extend its existing Producer Responsibility Obligation (PRO) framework and raise the cost of Packaging Recovery Notes (PRNs) to accelerate the shift to a circular economy.

edie's Matt Mace and Ball Corporation's Ramon Arratia discuss the new resource efficiency paradigm

Sustainable Business Covered podcast: In the Green Room with Ball's Ramon Arratia

Welcome back to the green room - edie's exclusive interview hub for sustainability leaders, brought to you as part of the Sustainable Business Covered podcast. Up next to provide the insights of a leading sustainable business: Ball Corporation's sustainability director Ramon Arratia.

Henkel will explore closed-loop partnerships and solutions which enable consumers to reuse packaging

Henkel bolsters its sustainable packaging strategy

German chemical and consumer goods firm Henkel has joined the corporate war on waste with a pledge to ensure consumers can recycle, reuse or compost its packaging by 2025.

Burberry has also confirmed that it will no longer use real fur in its products. Image: Mparweo/Wikipedia

Burberry to stop burning unsold products as part of resource efficiency drive

Luxury fashion brand Burberry has announced it will stop destroying products deemed unsaleable with immediate effect, just months after it was revealed that the brand had burned more than £28m worth of stock over the past 12 months.

edie's weekly round-up explores how businesses across the world are ramping up efforts across all areas of sustainable development

Dyson's EV hub and Unilever's solar partnership: The sustainability success stories of the week

As part of our Mission Possible campaign, edie brings you this weekly round-up of five of the best sustainability success stories of the week from across the globe.