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How can circular economy concepts help to enable the most sustainable possible use of resources?

The circular economy is often cited as a proposed solution to reduce primary raw material demand and environmental impacts. Circular economy measures include improving repairability, extending service life, reusing products or materials, using secondary materials, or recovering materials through recycling. The environmental impact of circular economy concepts can be assessed, for example, using life cycle assessment (LCA) and material flow analysis (MFA). A prospective and systemic evaluation is also required to consider time lags, substitution effects, feedback with the energy system, and interactions between different circular economy approach.

In particular, we consider the following questions:

  • How can circular economy concepts support the energy transition?
  • How does recycling contribute to the resource-efficient implementation of the energy transition?
  • To what extent do second-life approaches contribute to the reduction of environmental impacts?

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