CIRCLE paper presented at the world´s most prestigious waste management symposium Sardinia 2023 

The international symposium on waste management, resource recovery and sustainable landfilling has been the gathering place for the global scientific community for over three decades, marking its 19th occurrence last year. This longevity means the community has witnessed the long transitioning from open dumps to sustainable landfilling. This background and insight make the event even more interesting for professionals working on the upper end of waste hierarchy – the science behind circular economy. 

There is no doubt that waste needs to become the input resource for our economy in the future. As highlighted also by the European Environmental Agency at the session, the EU Commission aims to double the circular material rate. From an environmental perspective, fossil fuels and biomass account for the highest share of the material environmental footprint. Therefore, efforts should concentrate on reducing fossil fuel consumption and making biomass production more sustainable.

The latter also motivated us to submit the abstract of our article, which is critically viewing the valorisation of biowaste, to the symposium. By investigating circular use of bio-resources in agriculture, forestry and aquaculture, we are addressing the waste and by-products that occur in food production that have the potential for increasing both their economic and technical value. 

Co-hosting a workshop with two other presenters, who approached the question from diverse perspectives, allowed us to illustrate how legal, social, and technical knowledge converge in practice. The range of topics discussed during the session underscores the necessity for improved cross-disciplinary understanding and the challenges inherent in the circular economy.

The session highlighted the value of having different perspectives represented in the CIRCLE team. We have been investigating ways to enhance circular economy, vocabulary, agency and ethics among other aspects. Such dialogue is increasingly relevant, as obstacles to circularity cannot be solved in isolation but require consideration of the broader context. This made the presentation of our abstract even more multilayered and pertinent, extending beyond the scope of our research.