WRF 2019 will host a series of ‘deep-dive’ workshops as part of the conference program and invites interested organisations to design and submit a workshop proposal now. Under the title‘Closing Loops – Transitions at work’, WRF 2019 wants to show systemic drivers, as well as concrete solutions to make the transition to circular economy work in practice.
A circular economy aims at maintaining our resources, such as materials, land and soil, at a high quality level while rendering the services we need to fulfill our current and future needs. This can be achieved by reorganising production/consumption patterns and value chains so that resources do not get wasted, rather get replenished and restored.
Cities and regions as laboratories for change. Around 60% of the world’s population will live in urban deltas by 2030. This ever-expanding urbanization calls for innovation, creativity and new ways of cooperation in order to provide for good living conditions with minimal impact. Closing the loops of resource flows in urban regions is a key strategy, where cities have the responsibility and potential to lead and pioneer, from different perspectives.
Ports and circular economy in a global market.In a circular economy, emphasis lies on locally closed material loops, local production and local solutions for waste and materials management. However, the reality of a global market today often goes in the opposite direction. This encourages us to look into the mechanism of the global market and its key actors, specifically ports as key players in this context, in order to evolve towards circularity worldwide. What innovative instruments can be developed and what good practices can be shown to manage the global material flows in a sustainable manner?
Digital technologies as a driver for circular economy. In the transition to circular production processes in the making industry, the use of digital technologies is crucial. Industry 4.0 therefore can be seen as an important technological driver for circular innovation. However, the introduction of digital technologies will not be able to accelerate a real transition, unless systemic shifts take place, such as the involvement of multiple stakeholders along the value chain, innovative enterprises with circular business models, a stimulating policy environment, access to finance, etc.
Sustainable waste and materials management. Closing material loops requires also innovative projects, policies and technologies to optimize the current ‘traditional’ strategies of product life extension, reuse of products and recycling of materials. Many pending questions could be touched upon in this context.
Circular bio-economy and bio-based materials. The stocks of a whole series of materials are shrinking rapidly. The use of fossil based feedstock for production of materials and products has a detrimental impact on the environment. The replacement of existing materials with reusable bio-materials and the transformation from fossil based to bio-based materials become the challenge for future generations. However, fitting the new bio-materials in the current economic model, and realizing synergies between bio-economy and the circular economy to create a more sustainable economy, is far from easy. Many questions remain unanswered.
Soil and land as a valuable resource.Soil and land are valuable and vital, but also finite (very slowly renewable) resources that due to their essential functions for people, planet and profit have to be used in a sustainable way. Workshop proposals could dive into cases where land and soil are dealt with in a circular way, taking into account their different functions.
The next WRF edition will take place in Antwerp, 24-27 February 2019 and it will be co-organised together with the Public Waste Agency of Flanders (OVAM). Where? Flanders Meeting and Convention Centre, Antwerp For more information visit the conference’s websiteandsubscribe to receive more news.