CORDIS - EU research results

NEW_InnoNet: The Near-zero European Waste Innovation Network

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - New_Innonet (NEW_InnoNet: The Near-zero European Waste Innovation Network)

Reporting period: 2016-08-01 to 2017-07-31

Approximately half of the waste generated in Europe is not reused or recycled; resulting in a significant amount of potential secondary raw materials being lost. Ambitious targets for Europe have been laid down and recently specified in the Circular Economy Package. While innovative technologies have been developed, market uptake is limited and varies drastically among member states. Without market uptake of new technologies and the development of more innovations the targets will not be fulfilled. NEW_InnoNet stimulates the development and implementation of near-zero waste technologies. NEW_InnoNet believes that cooperation is essential. Cooperation will stimulate knowledge dissemination; optimise the use of raw material; and increasing recycling rates. Cooperation within value chains will provide understanding of each other’s material flows and needs. In this way, waste flows of partners higher in the value chain can be put into value by partners downstream, or vice versa. Cooperation on the implementation of new technologies, partners can optimise solutions for the value chains. In order to induce more cooperation within value chains, NEW_InnoNet develops a stakeholder platform. Main objectives were to mobilise stakeholders towards building a circular economy: set-up and maintain a stakeholder platform; analyse selected waste streams (electronics, automotive, plastic packaging) and develop innovation roadmaps; develop an integrated near-zero waste strategic research and innovation agenda (SRIA); stakeholder mobilisation and interaction.
Work in the second period built on the strong fundaments of the first period. This period focused on establishing the platform; increase visibility; bringing together information and expertise to get clear picture on the current stage of development. The focus in the second project period shifted to supporting the use cases implementing, drafting an EU SRIA, and providing information & recommendations.
NEW_InnoNet launched its platform in the first period and informed stakeholders on its existence. The number of involved stakeholders increased in the second period to 180+ (platform) and 800 (LinkedIn). The project organised 16 stakeholder events. Analyses identified 1200+ stakeholders to ensure that the proper stakeholders participated.
Waste streams and roadmaps: bottlenecks and value chain analyses were performed in the first project part. The analyses provided insight into the commonalities and differences between the value chains. These insights provided the starting point of three roadmaps. the roadmapping was started with collecting ideations on innovative technologies and solutions for bottlenecks. Hereafter, draft versions of the roadmaps were created in an interactive consultation with stakeholders. This work culminated in roadmaps for the waste streams that were used as direct input for the SRIA.
In order to provide practical insights on the implementation of the circular economy, the project identified 100+ use cases. Use cases are circular technologies and/or business cases that are already being tested and/or on the market. The use cases provide inspirational lessons and insight into barriers and solutions for stakeholders working on circular innovations. In addition, the project established a clustering tool with data on 140+ innovative recycling technologies. The tool is developed in such a way that stakeholders can identified technologies that match their input material; output material; or encountered bottlenecks.
Building upon the work on the value chains, roadmaps and use cases, a SRIA was drafted. The SRIA contains 35+ RD&I actions that contribute to circular economy in Europe. Actions covers five themes: (1) collection; (2) sorting & recycling; (3) well-functioning market; (4) supporting policies; (5) design for circularity. As policy-makers play an key role in facilitating the transition towards the circular economy, NEW_InnoNet involved them at different levels. At EU level, policy makers from EU-institutions were updated on the progress of the project. At national and regional level, the project identified 50+ policy best practices for authorities to stimulate a circular and competitive regional economy.
NEW_InnoNet project aim to reach as many relevant stakeholders as possible. The project has taken a wide-range of measures to enable this: (1) digital presence (3300+ stakeholders); (2) project branding (8000+ stakeholders); (3) 16 project events (250 - 450 stakeholders); (4) 19 publications & 6 items in an (SME-focused) newsletter (14.000 (unique) readers); (5) presentations & networking (10.000 stakeholders). The project took great effort to connect with EU-projects to identify synergies and to benefit from each other’s expertise (500+ instances of communication were established).
NEW_InnoNet was not focused on generating new knowledge but on strengthening the knowledge base. The project has done so by bringing together available information on value chains, innovation and technologies. In the first period, available information was gathered on value chains and on technologies. The second period completed this by mapping the innovation landscape on circular economy (1200+ actors); describing research trends based on analysis of 275+ projects; set-up a database on 140+ recycling technologies; identify promising 100+ use cases; describing 50+ instruments for regional policymakers. To make this strengthened knowledge base widely available, the partners relied on various communication activities, i.e. the report itself; a publication for the general public; oral presentation at conferences; direct stakeholder communications.
To reach maximal impact we collaborated with relevant initiatives as much as possible. In the first phase, it has achieved this by: solicit input of other initiatives (e.g. on the roadmaps and ideations); align activities with other initiatives (e.g. New Plastic Economy initiative); consult initiatives on their actions and experiences (e.g. FoF, EIP, and SusChem). In the second part of the project, a specific emphasis has been placed on collaboration with EU projects. Projects were identified using CORDIS, LIFE-database, INTERREG-databases, and Eco-innovation database. Interactions with other EU-projects resulted in active contributions at NEW_InnoNet events.
In addition to alignment with (EU) initiatives, the project aimed for an increase of industry and SME involvement in circular economy policy and in research driven initiatives. Initially this objective turned out to be more difficult than expected due to the stakeholder fatigue. More direct, consultative dialogue resulted in the desired involvement. Important dialogue partners have been industry associations that communicated the ideas and needs of their members. In addition, the project provided a platform for individual industrial actors to present their companies and innovations. Integration of industry is visible in their participation in the events and in the number reached by the project.
NEW_InnoNet continued with the facilitation of dialogues in the second project period. Dialogues were facilitated by: (1) web-platform for ideas & new practices; (2) consortium-building tool & services; (3) dialogue & networking sessions. To ensure impact after the project the partners took the initiative to set up a sustainable ecosystem for collaborative innovation in recycling, remanufacturing and re-use.
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