Preview Book

1.2 National/Regional Policies per Participant Country/Region


Waste Framework Directive: Bulgaria has transposed the WFD into national law by the Waste Management Act, promulgated in SG 53/ 13 July 2012.

Landfill Directive and WAC Decision: Ordinance No 8 on the conditions and requirements for construction and operation of landfills and other facilities and installations for waste disposal and recovery (SG80/13.09.2013).

Packaging Directive: Ordinance on packaging and packaging waste (adopted with CM Decree 271/202012, promulgated in State Gazette 85/06.11.2012.

Ordinance on the treatment of biowaste (Adopted with Council of Ministers Decree № 235 from 15.10.2013, published in State Gazette № 92 from 22.10.2013): Ordinance on separate collection (Adopted with Council of ministers Decree № 275 from 06.12.2013, published in State Gazette № 107 from 13.12.2013).

The National Waste Management Programme for 2014-2020 sets specific measures for the following strategic objectives of waste management:

  • Waste prevention and minimisation
  • Increase of the quantity of recycled and recovered waste
  • Separation of the source, improvement of the collection and transportation of waste
  • Environmentally sound waste disposal
  • Legal regulation of waste management and acceleration of the implementation of the legislation and policy in this field
  • Increase of the investments in the sector and implementation of Producer responsibility and Polluter pays principles in the system for integrated waste management
  • Provision of database about waste
  • Strengthening the administrative capacity of the institutions responsible for waste management
  • Public participation

National Strategy on the Reduction of Bio-waste: There is a National Strategic Plan for the gradual reduction of the amount of biodegradable waste going to landfill

Collection, reuse/refill and recycling targets [BG WMP 2009-2013]: In compliance with the WFD, the following indicative targets for reuse and recycling of municipal waste are set in the new Waste Management Act:

  • By 2018 at least 40% of all waste is recycled
  • By 2020 at least 50% of all waste is recycled

Collection of municipal waste:

  • the Waste Management Act obliges the municipalities to deliver service for collection and transportation of municipal solid waste to each holder of waste
  • the coverage of service in Bulgaria is about 98.2 % in 2010 according information of the National Statistical Institute
  • in most of the cases the activities for collection and transportation of waste are performed by private operators, which are selected under Public Procurement Act
  • obligation for separate collection of at least 4 material streams (paper and cardboard, plastics, metal and glass) from household and similar waste generation sources
  • each municipality established its own scheme for collection and transportation of MSW (e.g. different collection frequency)
  • in some urban area (e.g. Sofia) this is done 7 times per week; in other areas – 2-3 times per week.; in rural areas even less;

Landfilling of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW)

It is a general requirement of the EU Landfill Directive that all Member States have to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste landfilled (BMW). Considering the current level of material and organic recycling of MSW in Bulgaria, exceptional efforts will be required for fulfilling the 50 % recycling target by 2020.

The organization and treatment of waste within the territory of the municipalities is the responsibility of the municipal mayors. Commonly, mayors assign those activities via public procurement.

Municipalities in Bulgaria that build or use a common regional landfill or treatment facility, establish regional associations as legal entities and enter into an agreement with each other on waste management on a regional basis. Table 1 shows the goals for recovery and recycling for Bulgaria per years, set up in National Waste Management Plan


Table 1. Goals for recovery and recycling for Bulgaria per years.

Waste streams


                                                 Goals                                   Recovery                             Recycling                            Collecting






min. 50% of the quantity of the MSW generated in the region in 2014 



min. 75% of the quantity of the MSW generated in the region in 2014 

MSW – paper, cardboard, plastics, metals and glass





Recycling of min. 40%  of their weight



Recycling of min. 50% of their weight

Building waste





min. 55% of the their weight



min. 70% of the their weight



At a national level, Greece has not yet embedded any certain laws regarding circular economy. Relevant national and regional policies that may contribute to the achievement of circular economy are the following:

The National Waste Management Plan (NWMP) which is oriented to the following milestones for 2020: waste per capita should be drastically reduced, preparation for reuse and recycling with separate collection of recyclables and bio-waste should be applied to 50% of the total of Municipal Solid Waste(MSW); Energy recovery should be a complementary form of management when the margins of all other types of recovery have been exhausted and landfilling should be the last option and should be limited to less than 30% of the total MSW.

Based on the reference framework mentioned above, the policy axes to be addressed by Greece’s NWMP are the following:

  1. Ensuring the civic nature of solid waste management in order to protect public health and the environment in the context of a policy of sustainable development for the benefit of society, in terms of viability.
  2. Existence of integrated planning for all waste streams at national, regional and local level, taking into account the measures and actions of the National Waste Prevention Plan (NWPP), by achieving compatibility of Waste Management Plans with the Spatial Frameworks.
  3. Ensuring the outmost protection of the environment and human health by achieving self-sufficiency in appropriate and adequate networks as well as waste collection, recovery and disposal infrastructure, with an integrated waste inventory record and reinforced controls throughout the whole management grid.
  4. Promoting efficient use of resources for the benefit of society in a socially acceptable manner, with priority given to: a) the promotion of preparation for re-use and recycling recyclables and bio-waste by sorting at the source, and b) enhancing the implementation of extended producer responsibility in waste management to support the planning and production of goods, which take fully into consideration and also facilitate the efficient use of resources throughout their life cycle.
  5. Upgrading public and municipal waste management services for citizens and waste producers, raising awareness and encouraging active public participation through extensive consultation and through participation in small scale waste management actions at a primary level.
  6. Rationalization of waste management services costs and promotion of economically viable and environmentally acceptable investments in the waste sector, as well as support of environmentally friendly technologies and innovation, making maximum use of available public funding, social control and minimum cost to citizens.

The strategies for putting into action the new national waste management policy are the following:

A. Development of an integrated framework for waste management planning which relies on the development of a NWPP, the drawing up of specific national plans, at least for hazardous waste, the revision of Regional Waste Management Plans (RWMP), harmonizing of waste management plans with the national and regional spatial plans, determining the obligation of municipalities to design and implement local decentralized waste management plans in the context of national and regional planning. Finally, the possibility of collaborating only for source-based screening and training between municipalities, social associations and / or alternative management systems where waste is integrated into alternative management.

B. Ensure high protection of the environment and human health by: a) Strengthening - developing the central mechanism for recording and processing waste production and waste management data, in order to ensure traceability from production to final destination, b) developing the appropriate network of waste recovery and disposal infrastructures, c) creating conditions in order to prevent the export of waste, as this entails a significant loss of potential resources and, at the same time, recycling and recovery opportunities in the country, unless there is no corresponding infrastructure in the country.

C. Applying Sorting to Source as the most promising way of collection in order to achieve high-quality recycling by taking the following measures:

  • Establishment of nationwide separate waste collection in order to achieve the necessary quality standards in the respective recycling sectors. Separate collection shall be set up at least for glass, paper, metal and plastic so as to ensure, as a minimum, the recycling of 60% of their total weight from the pre-screening stage, until 2020.
  • Establishing separate collection of biowaste as a primary step in the new management system to facilitate the separate collection and recycling of bio-waste sorted at source to achieve the objective of separate collection of 40% of the total bio-waste by 2020. Treatment of separately collected bio-waste in order to produce compost which should meet quality standards for its re-use in accordance with international and / or national standards.
  • Adoption of measures and creation of a new network of Green Points and / or Centers for Recycling and Training for Sorting at Source (CRTSS) as elements of the LWMP.
  • Adoption of measures to attain at least the objectives of Greek Law 4042/2012 (A 24) by 2020 on the preparation for reuse, recycling and recovery of construction and demolition materials.
  • Complementary use of energy recovery methods, provided they do not alter the goals of sorting to source and recovering materials
  • Priority in the further recovery of materials, versus the production of secondary fuels, at waste treatment plants.
  • Finally, limitation of the disposal on landfill areas only to non-recoverable waste

D. Rationalization of waste management services costs and promotion of economically and environmentally sustainable investments in the waste sector aiming to introduce a rewarding benefit to the citizen from recycling.

  • Support for environmental technologies and innovation, which are considered to be important for developing and emerging economies, where significant increasing trends are appearing, in order to promote a hierarchy in waste management.
  • Incentives for the countrywide implementation of the Green Points by the Municipalities for the re-use and recycling of waste.
  • Promoting voluntary actions - agreements on green public procurement and the procurement of sustainable / green products.
  • Upgrading waste management services to citizens and waste producers, raising awareness and encouraging active citizenship through extensive consultation and implementation of management actions (recycling, reuse, composting, residue) close to waste generation
  • Developing a national communication strategy aimed at informing and raising awareness in the waste sector for the general public and selected target groups.
  • Developing an effective mechanism for transparency, systematic updating, support and training for those involved in waste generation and management.
  • Improving access to stakeholder information through e-Governance.
  • Establishing the responsibilities of municipalities in order to be able to implement the full range of actions of local management plans and to enhance their technical competence as well as other waste management bodies.
  • Encouraging initiatives and involving social economy actions in the context of local municipal decentralized management plans.
  • Developing partnerships between local communities and stakeholders in waste management with a view to achieving social consensus.

E. Energy recovery - Energy recovery of waste

The concepts of "energy recovery" and "energy exploitation of waste" in the NWMP are defined as “mild” environmental nuisance practices, which based on biological and/or chemical processes produce secondary gases or liquid fuels for energy production. Indicative practices are: biogas recovery from landfills, biogas production via anaerobic degradation, biodiesel production from waste oils, etc.

The strategies adopted according to the different waste streams are the following:

  1. Urban solid waste: a) Establishment of separate collection and recovery of bio-waste, b) establishment of separate collection of paper, glass, metals and plastics, c) organizing separate collection in other MSW streams with a targeted collection for further preparation for re-use and recycling, d) consideration of domestic composting as recycling rather than prevention, e) establishment of measures to prevent waste generation, especially for food waste and packaging.
  2. Sludge (urban type): Tackling sludge as a resource - source of organic substance for use for the benefit of agriculture or for energy recovery.
  3. Industrial Waste: a) Priority should be given to reuse and recovery, as long as waste cannot be used as resource during the production process, b) reinforcing the co-operation between industries to ensure that industrial waste is shipped as raw materials to other industries or used in other industrial sectors.
  4. Waste of public utilities, public service, etc.: Promoting the implementation of separate collection systems for paper, glass, metal and plastic using the best economic and environmental method and maximizing performance with the responsibility of the facility operators.
  5. Agricultural and animal waste: a) The pursuit of full recovery of agricultural and livestock waste, with priority being given to their recovery in agriculture and strengthening cooperation with the recycling industry for biodegradable waste, b) optimal utilization of the energy content of agro-livestock waste, c) promotion of organic methods in agricultural production, in order to increase the absorption of soil-improvement material produced from agricultural and livestock waste, d) ensure the environmentally sound management of agricultural and livestock production waste (greenhouse plastics, fertilizer packaging and veterinary medicines, etc.), e)To inform and raise awareness of the producers of agricultural and livestock products about the benefits (economic and other) that can be caused by the lawful management of these wastes.
  6. Alternative management flows which among others entails: Pan-Hellenic expansion of recycling, Full implementation of alternative management in public administration and in the tourism, science and social societies sectors, establishing separate waste collection per material, quality upgrade of recycling, reinforcing the collection of packaging waste / other products, reinforcing recovery – recycling, development of markets of recovered materials, integration of new streams into alternative management, registration of packaging managers / producers / other products, update - sensitize public / agencies and encouraging public participation.

Circular economy is also promoted through the Regional Waste Management Plans (RWMP) which was revised in October 2016 and is in full compliance with the NWMP and which also takes into account the “Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy” COM (2015)614, the goals set by the 2008/98 EC, the National Legislation regarding Packaging and alternative management of packaging and other products (Law 2939/2001, Ministerial Decree 9268/469/2007, Law 3854/2010, & Ministerial Decree 54461/1779/E.103/2013), as well as the National Waste Prevention Plan (NWPP).

The following table presents the overall proposed goals of the Regional Waste Management Plan for Central Macedonia (RWMP-CM) for MSW.

Stream/Type of waste


Proposed Goal

Biodegradable Urban Waste


Reduction of waste resulting in landfills to 35% by weight in relation to production levels in 1997



40% of the total weight in a separate collection

Recyclable materials


Establishment of separate collection for at least paper, glass, metals &plastic.


65% by weight preparation for reuse & recycling at least for paper, metal, plastic and glass

Total MSW


50% by weight preparation for re-use & recycling with pre-qualification

The RWMP is an integrated waste management plan regarding the waste produced in the region, which identifies the general guidelines for the waste’s management, in accordance with the NWMP and the National Waste Prevention Plan (NWPP), and it indicates the appropriate measures to promote in a hierarchical and combined manner: a) prevention, b) reuse, c) recycling, d) other recovery, such as energy recovery, and e) secure final disposal at Regional level.

In April of 2016, the National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change (NSACC) was elaborated by the Ministry of Environment. At a more general level, the implementation of the NSACC requires integration of its objectives in the wider context of a transformation strategy for and an innovative and circular Greek economy. Although the EC strategy for a circular economy is primarily concerned with the management and recycling of waste, the NSACC aspires to link the concept of circularity of productive and consumer choices on climate adaptation issues.

An Action Plan for Public Procurement (2016-2020) has been drawn up but hasn’t been put to force yet. and it’s actions include the “Strengthening of Sustainable Development / Green Public Contracts” with the application of certain actions: a) Obligatory observance of environmental law obligations, b) Action plan for Green Procurements and market research, c) Guidance and information regarding the Green public procurements,  d) Inclusion of environmental characteristics in technical specifications/ invoices.

As far as biofuels are concerned, the effort lays in the exploitation of the domestic potential for bio-diesel production through energy crops, as well the development of the necessary biomass management networks for energy use. National targets for 2020, according to the National Renewable Energy Action Plan are expected to be met for power generation with the development of about 13300MW from RES (from about 4000MW today), where all the technologies with prominent wind farms are involved with 7500MW, hydroelectric with 3000MW and solar with about 2500MW, while heating and cooling with the development of heat pumps, thermal solar systems and biomass applications.



At regional level, the Region of Emilia Romagna has approved the first law in Italy on circular economy (Law no.16/2015, issued on October 5th 2015). This regional law (formally called “Regulations in support of the circular economy, the reduction of waste production, the re-use of end-of-life-products and waste recycling, and changes to the regional law no.19 of August 19th 1996”) comes out of a bottom-up process involving 60 city councils, 1 provincial council, associations and territories.

According to the circular economy approach, wastes from activities must become “secondary raw materials” for other activities: the regional law pays therefore attention to the whole life cycle of products. Moreover, a link between supply and demand of secondary raw materials will be created, highlighting territorial productive peculiarities.  

The fields of actions are three:

  1. A more sustainable waste management
  2. Information aimed at creating a new civic consciousness
  3. Financial instruments (both for municipalities and innovative companies)

The targets set by the regional law are quite ambitious, even higher than those set by the European Union:

  • ž   Reducing the rate of the per capita production of waste: 20-25% by 2020
  • ž   Waste collection rate: 73% by 2020
  • ž   Recycling rate: 70% by 2020 (65% of urban waste by 2030 for the EU)
  • ž   Landfill disposal: 5% by 2020 (10% by 2030 for the EU)

These targets will be achieved also through the Regional Waste Plan, approved on May 3 2016, whose tools include:

  • ž   a Pay-As-You-Throw system by 2020
  • ž   public-private partnerships for the prevention and recovery of waste in different economic sectors
  • ž   an incentive fund for virtuous municipalities of 11.5 million euro per year
  • ž   a permanent working group for by-products.

Information and awareness measures are also implemented. In particular, besides the incentives for information and education activities and the regional communication campaigns, a permanent forum on circular economy has been established.

With regards to by-products, the regional Authority has established a working group with trade associations and the regional environmental control agency in order to make the identification of by-products easier and to promote a market for them. A first result of the group’s activity has been the official regional Register of By-products: so far, 5 datasheets have been provided, containing recommendations for companies (from technical and managing point of view) aiming at supporting them to identify substances or material as by-product:

  1. ž   Peach kernels
  2. ž   Apricot kernels
  3. ž   Salt deriving from salting of meats
  4. ž   Black liquor
  5. ž   Green residues from sweet corn.

Another important result coming from the regional law on Circular Economy are the Guidelines for Reuse Centers, that have been shared with the public through a participation and consultation process.

Other relevant regional policies that can contribute to a more circular economy are the following:

Regional Energy Plan: it takes the European targets for climate and energy as drivers for the development of the Region. It aims at enhancing green economy, energy saving and renewable energy and it promotes actions on transports, research and training. Thanks to the Regional Energy Plan, the circular economy principles will be applied also in the energy sector by:

  • ž   the development of plants powered by bioenergy including energy recovery from waste;
  • ž   the closure of cycles, also through the reuse of waste and by-products, the efficient use of resources and energy efficiency with  renewable sources.

Rural Development Program: it promotes knowledge, innovation and competitiveness of the agro-industry sector, with a special attention on environment and climate and with the aim of supporting the development of the territory and local communities. With regard to circular economy, for example, the program promotes the diversification of farm activities also through energy production from agricultural by-products.

Regional Green Public Procurement Plan: on February 2017, the new three-years Green Public Procurement Plan has been released. The target is to reach 50% of sustainable public procurement. GPP could be one of the most effective incentive to promote transition towards Circular Economy (the minimization of the use of natural resources, the design of more durable products, the recycling/recovery of single components at the end-of-life, etc) GPP is a cross-cutting theme which includes, besides regulations on public contracts, also relevant regulation on environmental protection (i.e. energy efficiency, product/process certification, eco-design).

Last but not least, the ERDF Program and the Regional Smart Specialization Strategy. Sustainable development has been identified as one of the drivers of the Regional S3, where it is meant as “[…] innovation in energy efficiency and new energy technologies, in the waste management and a more rational use of resources, the reduction of harmful emissions into the environment, in promoting sustainable mobility, in the most careful management and exploitation of natural resources also from a touristic point of view […]”.  The ERDF Program has a specific priority Axis on Competitiveness of the industrial sector and, considering sustainable development as a cross cutting topic, it has been chosen as the policy instrument for CESME project: in fact, in order to facilitate the access of SMEs to Circular Economy, circularity should be seen as a key factor to improve competitiveness rather than a factor to reduce the environmental impact of the company.

At national level, a new national legislation was introduced in order to promote environmental measures of green and circular economy (Law no.221 issued on December 2015). It implies mandatory requirements for all Italian public entities to include Minimum Environmental Criteria (MEC) in their public procurement actions. The Criteria have been defined by the Italian Ministry of the Environment and cover the most relevant product and service areas for public procurement in Italy. MEC documents provide “Basic Environmental Criteria” (which a public authority must “at least” include in its tenders) and the so called “rewarding” criteria, which aim at a higher level of environmental performance. These are the products and services considered: 

  1. Electronic equipment for offices
  2. Furniture for offices
  3. Street furniture
  4. Social aspects in public procurement
  5. Devices for incontinence
  6. Paper
  7. Cartridge for printers
  8. Building
  9. Street  lighting
  10. Cleaning and cleaning products
  11. Urban waste
  12. Catering and Foodstuffs
  13. Sanitization for hospitals
  14. Energy services for buildings (lighting and air conditioning)
  15. Textiles
  16. Vehicles
  17. Public green areas

Public Administrations are therefore required to use the technical specifications and requirements defined by the MEC in their public procurement tenders in order to promote the purchase of products:

  • with a lower environmental impact
  • with a longer lifetime               
  • with reduced waste.

By imposing the MEC, the national legislation has made a key step to promote circular economy since the minimum environmental criteria, if adopted on a large scale, are a key to overcome “linearity” in the approach to production and consumption.

The MEC act simultaneously on several objectives mentioned in the European Action Plan for Circular Economy. They outline requirements for eco-design of products, services and works to which they refer to and “over the entire life cycle”. They represent support measures on the demand side for products characterized by eco-design requirements. MEC outline procedures for a consistent waste collection with the aim to encouraging recycling.

For example, criteria for Building sector focus on actions that contribute to the European objective of recycled/recovered waste; some examples of these actions are the following:

  • Disassemblability: for at least 50% (in weight) of buildings components should be possible, at their end-of-life, a selective demolition and the recycling/recovery.
  • Total content of recycled/recovered material: over the total amount of materials used for building, the content of recycled/recovered material should be at least 15 % (in weight).

With regards to waste regulation, new legislation about by-products has been recently produced. On March 2017 a new regulation came into force: it identifies criteria that can be used to demonstrate the quality of the by-product (and not waste) of the material. Later, on June 2017, a national register of by-products has been opened, in order to match demand and offer. Any company producing or wishing to use by-products can join the register, which is managed by the local Chambers of Commerce.

Another characteristic of the Italian waste system is the existence of national consortia for several kind of waste. Many type of waste coming from separated collection of urban waste are managed at national level through the system of national consortia (required by law), which set and manage the recovery value chain: plastic, wood, used oil, compost are some of the waste managed at national level through auctions that aim at promoting material recovery.



Circular Economy is seen as a key to ensure growth and prosperity by the Danish Government due to the ever-increasing pressure on resources. The Danish government has a clear ambition to increase circular economy in Denmark.

The vision for Danish industry is to reach a global leadership in innovation, implementation and export of circular solutions by 2030. Furthermore, Denmark must be known as a hub for circular economy.

These goals will be reached through:

  1. Denmark must gain more economic value from materials by increasing resource productivity by 40% based on the amount of materials and 15% based on the value of materials
  2. Denmark must increase circularity by increasing total recycling by 80% and reducing waste by 15%
  3. Denmark must remain a leader in Europe in developing circular technologies and solutions and the export of these have risen
  4. Denmark must make better use of excess capacity by making 50% of the population active in sharing economy

North Denmark Region who is the partner and the policy holder in the CESME project is a so called ’Climate Region’ in Denmark, which implies very ambitious climate objectives to maintain this position. At the same time the regional SMEs hold a large unrealised potential within this field, which is prioritised in the Regional Strategy for Green Growth, focusing on the regional potentials to further:

  1. Identify SMEs with potentials for greater utilization of resource and energy efficiency
  2. Development og green business models
  3. Advice on how to unlock their potential
  4. Implementation of green business models

 On this behalf the Regional Authority expects the following measures within 2020:

  1. 350 new jobs
  2. 45 M EUR growth in revenues for the participating SMEs.



In Finland bioeconomy and clean solutions have a central role in circular economy. The main national policies promoting transformation to circular economy are the Finnish bioeconomy strategy, the current government programme and Finland’s national circular economy roadmap.

The Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy

The Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy highlights the actions required to develop the bioeconomy in Finland (Sustainable growth from bioeconomy, 2014). The Bioeconomy Strategy was drafted in a project set up by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, and drafting involved participation from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of Finance, the administrative branches under these Ministries, as well as VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and other relevant bioeconomy stakeholders.

The aim of the strategy was not only to focus on existing and new policy actions to support the growth of a sustainable bioeconomy but also remove obstacles. The key goals of the strategy focus on creating 1) a competitive operating environment for the bioeconomy, 2) developing business from the bioeconomy, 3) creating a strong bioeconomy competence base, and 4) assuring accessibility and sustainability of biomasses. In Finland bioeconomy is seen as an engine of circular economy.

The Finnish Government Programme

The current Finnish Government Programme has allocated 300 million euros for Bioeconomy and clean solutions, which is one of strategic focus areas of the programme (Prime Minister’s office, 2015; 2016). The implementation of Bioeconomy and clean solutions focuses on following key themes:

  1. Towards carbon-free, clean and renewable energy cost-efficiently
  2. Wood on the move and new products from forests
  3. Breakthrough of a circular economy, getting waters into good condition
  4. Finnish food production will be profitable, trade balance on the rise
  5. Nature policy based on trust and fair means

The projects to be financed within the scope of that focus area have to take circular economy principles into account. For example the implementation of Wood on the move and new products from forest – priority area includes measures which aim at accelerating the introduction of new bioeconomy innovations through pilot projects and innovative public procurement, like for example pilot, demo and reference projects involving the reuse, recycling and other use of byproduct flows and waste from production and consumption. Breakthrough of a circular economy – priority area focuses strongly on water and waste management.

The implementation of priority area includes three main measures: 1) Prepare regulation and other solutions that promote recycling, 2) Increase recycling of nutrients and step up actions to protect the Baltic Sea and other waterways, and 3) Experimental programme in contaminated soil reconditioning and soil recycling. The projects of this priority area focus on promoting material and waste recycling, on removing obstacles from the circular economy and bioeconomy, and on accelerating the adoption of new innovative business models and recycling products.

Finland’s national circular economy roadmap

Finland’s national circular economy roadmap was created in 2016 (Sitra, 2016). The participatory roadmap process initiated by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra involved several ministries (Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment) and other stakeholders. The aim is to make Finland a world leader in the circular economy by 2025. The roadmap describes the actions and highlights best practices and pilots that can enhance the transformation to a competitive circular economy in Finland. Four key focus areas and assumptions of the roadmap are:

  1. A sustainable food system; Consumers choose food that has been produced through the wiser use of raw materials that starts in primary agricultural production. Emissions and resource consumption will be lower.
  2. Forest-based loops and the related innovations; Finland is a circular bioeconomy leader because of its forestry and forest industry. Global competitiveness will increase with new commercial products, services, co-operation models and digital technology.
  3. Technical loops; Minimizing the use of virgin raw materials creates a competitive edge. At the same time, maximizing the length of material and product life cycles and opportunities for reuse.
  4. Transport and logistics; Transport will develop into a seamless, smart system that uses fossil-free fuels. Mobility as a Service (MaaS), the sharing economy and optimized and clean transport will take mobility to a new level.               

From regional perspective the key circular economy -relevant regional policy initiatives in South Ostrobothnia region include Regional strategy, Seinäjoki region’s climate strategy, Smart Specialisation Strategy, and Environmental Strategy 2014-2020 for South Ostrobothnia, Central Ostrobothnia and Ostrobothnia.

Regional strategy for South Ostrobothnia

Regional strategy is the key guiding policy for South Ostrobothnia. The current strategy sets long-term visions and goals for the regional development (2040) and gives the policy actions for the implementation (Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia, 2014a). The implementation plan is drawn every two years and the work is ongoing for the next phase (2018-2021). In the Regional Strategy circular economy approach is seen as efficient use of (raw) materials, sustainable and efficient processes and production with emphasis on sustainable food systems, use of renewable energy, energy efficiency and logistics.

The current circular economy relevant policy actions focus on 1) Creation of new sustainable and effective solutions for food systems and the bioeconomy, and 2) Development of smart and energy efficient systems, 3) Promoting the use of renewable energy and 4) Applying energy efficient solutions. Circular bioeconomy has a central role in slowing and narrowing down the material loops by increasing resource and process efficiency, by increasing the value of products and by developing new value-added, biobased products. Resource value can be extended for example by industrial symbiosis and other processes, where new products are being developed and produced from side-streams of other processes.

Strategy for Smart Specialisation

Strategy for Smart Specialisation supplements the Regional strategy. The goal of smart specialization strategy is to promote the regeneration of business and ensure future skill requirements in selected thematic business sectors (Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia, 2014b). The thematic areas relevant to circular economy are in line with the Regional strategy and focus on solutions for food systems and the bioeconomy, smart and energy efficient systems and the regeneration of service production. Enhancing smart manufacturing and digitalization, resource efficiency, efficient logistics, and servitization can be seen as prerequisites and elements of circular economy.

Initiatives linked with Smart specialization include 1) Green creative garden - a business development programme for food systems, and 2) Nordic Logistic City – a green logistics centre initiative. Green creative garden initiative was part of a national level Innovative Cities programme for bioeconomy by Ministry of Economy and Employment, and targeted sustainable and effective solutions for food systems (City of Seinäjoki, 2017).

Regional Climate, Energy and Environmental strategies

Seinäjoki region’s climate strategy, Energy and climate Strategy 2014-2020 for South Ostrobothnia, and Environmental Strategy 2014-2020 for South Ostrobothnia, Central Ostrobothnia, and Ostrobothnia give guidance to circular economy related issues from climate and environmental protection perspective. Eight communities were involved in Seinäjoki region’s climate strategy which sets policies on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and promotes energy efficiency (Seinäjoki region’s climate strategy, 2013). Energy and climate Strategy 2014-2020 for South Ostrobothnia, which is in line with Seinäjoki region’s climate strategy and national climate strategy, aims at GHG reduction (Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia, 2014c).

The circular economy relevant policy measures focus on energy efficiency, energy production and solutions, waste management, forestry and food chain. The strategy promotes narrowing the resource flows by efficient use of primary and secondary materials and waste reduction. Local, distributed energy production and use of bio-based local resources, e.g. agro and forest biomass, manure, non-food and other wastes as energy source are also supported.

The further processing of waste resources and side-streams into more valuable products, such as upgrading biogas to transportation fuels and fertilizers, is also fostered. Related to food chain, the policy actions target resource efficiency by minimizing the food losses and waste within the supply chain, improving the utilization of side-streams in food processing industry and in energy production (e.g. biogas), promoting the sustainable management of nutrients and nutrient recycling, and utilization of locally produced food.

United Kingdom (Wales)

Towards Zero Waste, the overarching waste strategy document for Wales, was published in 2010. Towards Zero Waste effectively sets Wales on a path towards a more circular economy. It re-emphasised the goal of using the equivalent of one planet’s worth of resources by 2050. It established ambitious targets for waste prevention and recycling to help meet the one planet resource use goal. The Welsh Government published its Waste Prevention Programme in December 2013.

We are not aware of any nation that has set a specific resource efficiency outcome or target in respect of achieving a circular economy. However, Wales has set itself the one planet resource use goal for 2050, and this effectively is our resource efficiency goal for a circular economy in Wales.

Towards Zero Waste sets targets for waste prevention and management that are designed to meet the one planet goal. These provide the essential outcome targets that the circular economy approach in Wales needs to achieve in order to achieve the goal of one plant resource use, as follows:

  •  Waste prevention

               - 27% reduction by 2025 (against a 2006/07 baseline)

               - 65% reduction by 2050 (against a 2006/07 baseline)

  • Preparation for reuse/recycling and composting:

      - 70% by 2025 (with all recycling closed loop or upcycled)

      - 100% by 2050 (with all recycling closed loop or upcycled)

  • Energy from waste:

       - <30% by 2025 (with high energy efficiency)

       - 0% by 2050

  • Landfill

        - 5% by 2025

        - 0% by 2050

The Welsh Government has an extensive programme in place to help deliver a more circular economy in Wales. This includes the provisions in the Environment (Wales) Act 2016  to achieve more high quality recycling by businesses and the public sector, the statutory recycling targets set for local authorities (58% in 2015/16 rising to 70% by 2025) in the Waste (Wales) Measure 2010, the £9.5 million grant awarded in October 2015 as core funding of the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) Cymru, the £1.186 million awarded also in October 2015  to Constructing Excellence in Wales for their programme for sustainable waste management in the construction sector, and the £13 million that has been provided to local authorities under the Collaborative Change Programme for them to improve their recycling services.

These programmes will help ensure the consistent supply of high quality recycle from all sources, especially from households, that can then be used by Wales based reprocessors and manufacturers. The programme will also seek to create a greater demand for goods with a high recycled content, and we see sustainable public sector procurement playing a key role here.