Keeping non-organic materials in the production loop, displacing non-renewable materials and more effective utilisation and disposal of organic resources avoids negative environmental impact. For example, the use of recycled copper in products results in a net gain of 4.6 tonnes of CO2 equivalents per tonne of copper compared to the use of mined copper (OVAM, 2019).
Circular economy technologies that effectively recover non-renewable raw materials help avoid highly detrimental large damage to ecosystems around mining activities, including long-term legacy issues. Furthermore, replacing non-renewable resources with renewable ones (e.g. construction with cross-laminated timber instead of steel and concrete, etc.) as well as lowering the waste of food, organic textiles, other organic materials and recovering their value through cascading uses (feed, fibres, energy, compost) significantly lowers EU’s environmental footprint.
EU’s ambitions to become the world’s first carbon-neutral region by 2050 will require a switch from an economy dependent on fossil raw-materials to a bioeconomy, harnessing the production and processing of renewable raw materials.
The bioeconomy is already a large EU sector, with a turnover of € 2.3T and employing 8.2% of EU’s workforce, and has potential to create a million new jobs by 2030. The EC recognises it as a key strategic sector for a competitive and sustainable economy of the future which can enable circular economy. EC’s Bioeconomy Strategy explicitly recognises the role of digital innovation to support this transition.
More information to be announced!