Issue 521, 21 February 2019
In this issue
SMEs could gain from sharing waste between industries, suggests Swedish study
Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises comprise the majority of European businesses — and, therefore, have a vital role to play in reducing our dependence on, and consumption of, increasingly scarce resources. A new study explores whether the concept of industrial symbiosis, in which companies use waste products of other industries as raw materials, is common in small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs) — using beer producers and mushroom farmers in Sweden as case studies.
Ecodesign for a circular economy: methodology for circular product design
Researchers have developed a methodology that allows the analysis of how an existing product design meets design guidelines required for the circular-economy perspective, and which guidelines would need to be incorporated to create a better circular-design product. The results, based on a case study of small electrical equipment in Spain, indicate that the most urgent priority is to incorporate circular-design guidelines related to extending life span and to product/components re-use, while there is a moderate need to include guidelines related to the use of simple removable connections or a modular product structure.
What affects battery recycling rates? Political, social and cultural factors examined
Extended producer responsibility (EPR) and other regulatory influences are essential to battery recycling in Finland, a new study finds. The researchers compare this with the situation in Chile, where a lack of appropriate legislation prevents recycling companies from overcoming the technical and financial challenges of battery recycling. The study helps policymakers understand how political, social, and cultural factors can support companies in their move towards circular-economy business models.
Future emissions from metal production can only be cut by circular economy
The most effective way to lower the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with metal production is to pursue a circular economy for the material in the long term, says a recent study. This century will see a high demand for seven major metals; the resultant overall environmental impact is expected to outweigh any environmental savings that may result from greener production processes or an increased use of renewable energy.
Online tool enables quick comparison of strategies to control eutrophication
Researchers have developed an online tool to help water managers find effective ways of tackling eutrophication, an excess growth of weeds and algae that su?ocates life in rivers, lakes and seas. They describe the tool as quick and easy to use and understand. Users can compare the likely effects of different strategies for cutting nutrient pollution in surface waters via an interactive map-based system; this is currently available for Sweden and Europe as a whole.