Linear, Circular, Economy, Awareness, Initiatives

Abstract [English]

Although many OECD countries are working on it, the economy is only slowly developing from linear to circular. However, many economists are convinced that this is the only viable path if we want to prevent a climate catastrophe by 2050 and thereby leave a habitable and developable world for the next generations. Numerous articles in the press point out that many companies are only at the beginning of a gigantic effort to make their production CO2 neutral but also sustainable and that a lot of innovation will be needed before that happens. So, what are the reasons why the transition towards a circular economy is so difficult to make?

The European Academy of the Regions, that advocates the regionalisation of a number of economic and socio-cultural sectors, closely follows the development of the circular economy. Since the beginning of May 2021, it has therefore set-up a blog in which newspaper articles are translated from various countries to English with examples of successful circular economy initiatives or of critical studies: To date, the organisation made a statistical study on the 100 selected articles[1] published between 3/5/2021 and 3/9/2021 that will give the reader an idea of the themes that are most frequently discussed and of the remedies that are created. The articles come from newspapers and magazines from Belgium (Dutch and French), the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and the US and to a lesser extent from Switzerland, Canada and France. The results of this research are an overview of the topics covered, of indications of how initiatives are created, who is the influencer as well as an overview of the articles that have received more than 100 clicks on social media.

It has been striking that many of the initiatives described by the press have arisen from companies whose top management is aware of the bend that urgently needs to be made and who also see commercial opportunities to start early. There are also a number of cooperative initiatives, that still succeed in creating successful initiatives from a small-scale approach. A second important player in this conversion is the academic world, especially faculties or even entire universities that have been conducting research into new materials or new applications for a long time. The traditional third player are the authorities, but very often regional governments or large cities.

The conclusion remarks show that circular economy can only be successful if companies see a profit model in it, or are forced to change their course by public opinion because of negative perception and that we are not yet there.


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AFP, Les industriels de la boisson favorables à la consigne (Beverage manufacturers in favor of the deposit) in : Ouest-France, 07/07/2019, "The deposit for the recycling of beverage packaging is necessary for a truly circular economy,” say the signatories to the forum. The signatories represent Boissons énergisantes France (BEF), Boissons rafraîchissantes de France (BRF), la Maison des eaux minérales naturelles (MEMN), la Fédération du commerce et de la distribution (FCD), la Fédération nationale des boissons (FNB), la Confédération nationale du commerce de gros et international (CGI), du Syndicat des eaux de sources (SES), le Syndicat national du lait de consommation, l'Union nationale interprofessionnelle des jus de fruit, et enfin Citeo.

Anne Masset, "L'Amazon vert" lancé par deux Belges : "Être un entrepreneur ‘à impact’, c’est encore plus difficile"( « Green Amazon » launched by two Belgians:" Being an 'impact' entrepreneur is even more difficult ") in : La Libre Belgique, 8-08-2021

Antonin Marsac, Du "béton circulaire" pour réduire les émissions de CO2 du secteur de la construction (et oublier un fiasco du passé à Bruxelles),( "Circular concrete" to reduce CO2 emissions in the construction sector) in La Libre Belgique, 12-06-21,

Celine Bruyndonckx, Nieuwe woonwijk in Edegem zal verwarmd worden met restwarmte van Agfa-Gevaert,( New residential area in Edegem will be heated with residual heat from Agfa-Gevaert) in: VRT News, do 02 jul 2020,

Dpa: Hochschulen in Brandenburg: Klimabewusst und nachhaltig, (Universities and Technical Universities in Brandenburg-Germany: Climate-conscious and sustainable) in: Süd-Deutsche Zeitung, 28/8/2021, Rogers’ Theory of Innovation (as described in his book Diffusion of Innovations) is a theory that tells something about the diffusion of an innovation (a new product or idea) within a group. The original theory was conceived by Frenchman Gabriel Tarde, but made popular by Everett Rogers

Fnade, la fédération des entreprises du recyclage et du traitement des déchets & Fédération Federec

Gilles Toussaint, Ton déchet, ma ressource,( Your waste, my resource) in : La Libre Belgique, 1-3-2021

Heleen Bastiaanse: Ja, retourneren is gratis, maar die trui die toch niet paste gaat misschien wel de verbrandingsoven in (Yes, returns are free, but that sweater that didn't fit might go into the incinerator), in: Trouw, 16 August 2021

In Spanje heten die puntos limios.

In annex 1 the complete list of articles including their origin

In annex 1 the complete list of articles including their origine

In the US it is referred to as EPR, extended producer responsibility.

Jan Stassijns, Antwerpse actie om afval ook buitenshuis in vuilnisbak te gooien,( Antwerp action to also throw waste in the garbage can outside the home), in: De Standaard, vrijdag 2 juli 2021,

Javier Vadrillo, Iberdrola e Irizar se alían en la movilidad eléctrica,( Iberdrola and Irizar join forces in electric mobility), in: El PAÍS, 20-7-2021

Julio Núñez, Cuando lo que hacían tus abuelos era la base de la economía circular,( When what your grandparents did was the basis of the circular economy) in El Pais, 18-03-2021 ,

Julio Núñez, Cuando lo que hacían tus abuelos era la base de la economía circular,(When what your grandparents did was the basis of the circular economy) in: El Pais, 18-03-2021 ,

LLB = La Libre Belgique

Marc Seijlhouwer, Circulaire economie is nog lang geen realiteit in Nederland,( Circular economy is far from a reality in the Netherlands),in : Change Inc, 21 januari 2021,

Mariano Ahijado, Un nuevo modelo productivo para llegar a 2030 en buena forma,( A new production model to reach 2030 in good shape) in: El Pais, 17 dic 2020,

Michael Kimmelman, Recycling in America Is a Mess. A New Bill Could Clean It Up, in New York Times, Jan. 27, 2021,

NYT = New York Times

Patric Van der Haegen, Kreislaufwirtschaft: Gemeinsam nachhaltiger bauen,( Circular economy: building more sustainably together),in: Presse blog, 13. April 2021

Pierre-François Lovens, Cette start-up qui veut responsabiliser le business des GSM et tablettes reconditionnés (This start-up that wants to empower the business of refurbished mobile phones and tablets), in : La Libre Belgique 27-7-2021,carte%20de%20la%20fili%C3%A8re%20locale.&text=Son%20business%20concerne%20la%20collecte,de%20GSM%20et%20de%20tablettes

Romy de Weert: Van afval naar asfalt: gemeente Haarlemmermeer legt circulaire autoweg aan,( From waste to asphalt: Municipality of Haarlemmermeer is building a circular highway), in: Change Inc, 15-12-2020

Ruben Mooijman, Duurzame mode of volksverlakkerij?(Sustainable fashion or folklore? ) , in: De Standaard, 30-06-2021,

SDZ = Süd-Deutsche Zeiting

Sarah-Mie Luyckx, Machteld Rijnten (53) vindt het tijd dat u leert over de nare gevolgen van fast furniture. ‘Weg met de Ikeabank!’,(Machteld Rijnten (53) thinks it's time you learned about the nasty consequences of fast furniture. ‘Down with the Ikea sofa!) in: Trouw, 21 augustus 2021,

TOM MICHIELSEN , Textielonderneemster Julie Lietaer: ‘Met bosjes planten alleen gaan we het niet halen’ (Textile entrepreneur Julie Lietaer: 'We won't make it with planting small forests alone'), in: De Tijd, 01 juni 2021, Textielonderneemster Julie Lietaer: ‘Met bosjes planten alleen gaan we het niet halen’ | De Tijd

Teun Schröder, Gemeente Apeldoorn lanceert database en marktplaats voor circulaire materialen,( Municipality of Apeldoorn launches database and marketplace for circular materials), in: Change Inc, 7 juli 2021,

Teun Schröder, Schone en veilige binnenstad door slimme afvalinzameling en digitale innovatie,( Clean and safe city center through smart waste collection and digital innovation), in: Change Inc., 15 juli 2021,

Valentine Van Vyve, La Fabrique Circuit Court, le chaînon manquant pour les petits producteurs,( La Fabrique Circuit Court, the missing link for small producers), in : La Libre Belgique, 02-08-2021,

Vincent Ayotte, « Quatre entreprises qui tirent profit de l’économie circulaire » ( Four companies that benefit from the circular economy) in : PME Montréal blog, 25 juin 2019,




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