Governing resource flows in a circular economy: rerouting materials in an established policy landscape

Deutz, P., Baxter, H. and Gibbs, D. (2019) Governing resource flows in a circular economy: rerouting materials in an established policy landscape. In: Macaskie, L. E., Sapsford, D. J. and Mayes, W. M. (eds.) Resource Recovery from Wastes: Towards a Circular Economy. Series: Green chemistry series (63). Royal Society of Chemistry: Cambridge, pp. 375-394. ISBN 9781788013819 (doi:10.1039/9781788016353-00375)

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The development of a Circular Economy, whereby resources are kept in circulation for the extraction of maximum value, has captured extensive policy and academic attention. The circularisation of material flows is likely to prove a task for a generation: the challenges are only beginning to be explored and the wider implications are seldom considered. However, circular economy-relevant policies are not new; EU policy makers have already made adjustments to remove inadvertent barriers to resource recovery. This chapter considers how resource recovery in the UK steel industry has been influenced by environmental policies, particularly the 2008 Waste Framework Directive's approach to enabling residues to lose, or avoid altogether, identification as wastes. In this context, we also consider the response to a proposed novel technology to recover vanadium, a high value component, from steel slag. Extensive analysis of policy-related documents at EU and UK level was carried out along with semi-structured stakeholder interviews (including producers of steel slag, industry bodies and regulators). Findings suggest that implementing reforms to earlier regulations necessitates changes to practices engendered by previous institutional arrangements. We face a risk of adding to layers of complexity rather than removing them. Circular economy theory and policy need to be aware of policy legacy.

Item Type:Book Sections (Other)
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Baxter, Dr Helen
Authors: Deutz, P., Baxter, H., and Gibbs, D.
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QD Chemistry
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Publisher:Royal Society of Chemistry

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