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Circularity indicators quantify the contribution of products or services to the Circular Economy

The concept of Circular Economy (CE) is relatively new, being in 1990 the first time it was defined and described as such by Pearce and Turner (1990). However, the concept remained dormant for about 20 years (Elkins, 2019). It was not until the creation of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (FEM) in 2010 and its publication “Towards the Circular Economy” in…

Repairability ensures extension of life cycle of products

The transition to a circular economy aims at closing material loops in order to reduce waste, use resources more efficiently and minimize the environmental impacts. But what are the strategies that the companies can establish to achieve this? In this respect, Potting et al. (2017) apply a useful framework (Fig.1) that defines 9 R-strategies, group them in three main circularity…

The circular footprint formula (CCF), the EU methodology to credit for circular strategies

Reuse and recycling are the two key strategies to move towards circularity, as reported last month. But several issues arise when assessing the environmental impacts or benefits of applying these strategies. How do these burdens or benefits can be shared between the product being recycled and the next product that will use the recycled material for its manufacturing? What is…

Post-industrial recycling of reusable plastic crates

Plastic is a synthetic material, made from organic polymers, that has become essential in current supply chains due to its beneficial properties – light weight, durable and easily shaped – and low cost. Since the 1960s, plastic production has increased by 20 times, with a global manufacture of 360 million tonnes in 2018, 40% of which were used for packaging…

Can reusable plastic crates contribute to reduce losses along the fruit and vegetables supply chain?

Fresh fruit and vegetables (F&V) is a key sector in the Spanish agriculture. With an annual production of around 20 million tons, it has an economic value of 14 million Euros, contributing to 47% of the value of the Spanish plant production and 29% of the whole agricultural production (MAPA). However, inefficiencies within the F&V supply chains appear in the…

Reusable plastic crates generate 88% less CO2 emissions and consume 57% less energy than single-use cardboard boxes in the distribution of fruit and vegetables in Spain

The environmental impact study based on the Life Cycle Analysis carried out by the UNESCO Chair of ESCI-UPF and published in the scientific journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling revealed the advantages of this system. • The life cycle analysis of the boxes will allow further improvement of their environmental performance.