Circular Economies: the shape of things to come

A project spearheaded by the University of Hull is to explore how to create a ‘circular economy’ in which resources are used for longer and then reused or recycled.

With €3.8 million of European Union Horizon 2020 funding, the project – called Cresting – aims to make providing goods and services more efficient and reduce waste.

Unlike the traditional linear ‘make, use and dispose’ model, a circular economy uses resources for as long as possible – getting maximum value – then either disposes of them responsibly, reuses them or recycles the materials.

The project will see 15 researchers recruited to universities around Europe. They will investigate where circular economies already exist in the public and private sectors, and analyse the environmental, social and economic implications.

By the end, the project will deliver 15 highly skilled individuals with an unparalleled understanding of circular economies, who are able to inform and advise on future policy.

Dr Pauline Deutz, project co-ordinator at the University of Hull, said: “It’s about changing the way things are designed so they are easier to recycle, last longer or are not made with toxic matter.

"It’s about changing the way things are designed so they are easier to recycle, last longer or are not made with toxic matter." Dr Pauline Deutz
The University of Hull

“This involves building new relationships between companies, governmental bodies and the public to find ways of being cleverer in the use of resources than we currently are.

“There could be enormous implications for the geographies of employment and economic development too, with new opportunities arising but others also disappearing.”

Apart from Hull, European universities involved in the project include Graz (Austria); Utrecht (Netherlands); Messina and University ‘G. d’Annunzio’ Pescara (both Italy); Aberta and the New University of Lisbon (both Portugal); and the University of Technology of Troyes (France).

There are also 15 partner organisations in 10 different countries across the EU and beyond. They include WRAP, a not-for-profit organisation; Hull City Council; EMS Ltd, a Hull-based charity; the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment; and the Universities of Nanjing (China) and Ibadan (Nigeria).

Other partners include manufacturing, waste management and IT companies.

Each partner will host a researcher so that they gain first-hand experience of working in an organisation striving to develop the circular economy.

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