~ Circular Economy in the Brussels Capital Region ~
In March 2016, Brussels Capital Region has adopted a Regional Program for Circular Economy. It aims to turn environmental objectives into economic opportunities, to optimize resource and territorial use while creating added value locally, and to create more jobs.
Several sectors are of interest for the Brussels Capital Region when applying Circular Economy. We have chosen here to focus on opportunities in the textile & construction sectors.
Potential cooperation with Italy on Circular Economy?
The current textile landscape involves few innovative business models linked to textile, independent fashion designers willing to think clothes with an eco-design and/or upcycling mindset as well as social enterprises involved in the collection and pre-sorting of textiles in Brussels (40 000 t/year). Needs comprise finding new ecological clothes or recycled/natural fabrics, solutions to recycle and recover “difficult” textile fibers (synthetic/shoes), innovative textile collection solutions applied to an urban context, solutions to upcycle or recycle end of life textile (wood/cotton) that would otherwise be sent for unravelling outside Europe. Learning if the Italian market is ready and mature for circular textile service is also of interest: any study, research, experience on consumer habits in terms of sharing economy, renting versus owning etc.?
Construction is one of the priority sector identified by the Regional Plan for Circular Economy of Brussels. The needs are to increase the lifecycle of buildings (maintenance, monitoring, and renovation) and to use construction resources in an efficient way (notably re-using construction materials). New cooperation models and new business models applied to the construction sector are also of interest (sharing economy, functionality economy).
In both sectors, Brussels based Universities are interested in partnering in view of EU funded projects on Circular Economy (H2020, LIFE, INTERREG etc).
~ Circular Economy in the Flemish Region ~
End 2011, the principles of sustainable materials management and circular economy were anchored in the Flemish legislation through the adoption of the Materials Decree. To facilitate the transition towards a circular economy, OVAM launched the Flanders’ Materials Programme (FMP) in 2012. This public-private partnership streamlines the multitude of public and private initiatives in a shared and broadly supported programme with co-ownership between knowledge institutes, industry, civil society and the government. FMP combines ambitious long-term vision development (Plan C) and policy-relevant research (SUMMA), with concrete actions.
- Plan C aims to accelerate breakthroughs in sustainable materials management and circular economy. The three core activities are: shaping a vision, activating a self-learning network and the support and strengthening of transition experiments. (plan-c.eu)
- The Policy Research Centre Sustainable Materials Management (SUMMA) brings together researchers from UGent, KU Leuven, UHasselt, University of Antwerp, HUB and VITO, and investigates which economic, policy and social preconditions need to be fulfilled in order to realise the transition to a material-efficient circular economy. (steunpuntsumma.be)
- In order to make progress in the evolution towards a circular economy in Flanders, FMP is now implementing 45 concrete projects in cooperation with active partners and with a clear time schedule. Special focus is placed on five sectors or clusters for which roadmaps were developed: critical and valuable metals, construction, raw materials from waste water, food and agriculture, chemistry and plastics. (http://www.vlaamsmaterialenprogramma.be)
~ Circular Economy in the Walloon Region ~
The European Commission has selected Wallonia as one of the six “model demonstrator regions” in Europe to lead the way toward a sustainable chemical industry.
The 6 regions have been selected from 28 applicants from EU regions, and will receive advisory support from the ‘European Sustainable Chemicals Support Service’ (ESCS), led by the European Commission and CIRCE (Center for Intelligent Research in Crystal Engineering). The aim is to encourage investments in sustainable chemicals production in Europe that will contribute to the development of the circular economy, for example by taking advantage of domestically available feedstock such as biomass, waste or CO2.
Wallonia has launched an operational program called NEXT promoting circular economy as one of the keys for future growth and added value creation. BE.Fin, a subsidiary of SRIW (Walloon Regional Invest Company), leads this program together with the A.E.I. (Agency for Enterprise and Innovation) which can count on many local development agencies on the Walloon territory in order to educate companies on the boosting possibilities of circular economy and in order to detect opportunities to develop concrete initiatives. In the country of beer, existing initiatives concern the re-use of packaging of course, but also the use of cleansing, yeast-loaded, waters to accelerate the treatment of sewage of neighboring companies or the use of brewer’s spent grains for animal feed.