Circular Economy

The Circular Economy initiative is about supporting research on the transformation from today’s often linear material and production flow. The goal is circular flows to thereby reduce the climate and environmental impact. To understand and be able to facilitate the transformation, material flows are studied from raw material to waste. We study the effects of politics and technology and how a circular economy can be made to work for a population, regions and cities.

Focus areas

Within the Circular Economy initiative, cooperation is currently under way within the following four areas:

Waste as a resource

This area focuses on the delimitation for when something is converted to a waste based on legal, sociological and materials perspectives. The area is partly based on so-called “waste hierarchy” that exists for certain products and entails technical and biological systems for the destruction or conversion of waste. Two project ideas with a focus on electronics waste and food waste as resources have thus far been formulated in this area. “Electronics waste as a resource”, which seeks to study how the interaction between different actors can strengthen the desire for re-use. “Food waste as a resource”, which seeks to study different ways of looking at food’s circular economy and what opportunities and obstacles exist to taking care of food waste. 

Scales in time and space

This area focuses on how different kinds of scales can become an opportunity or an obstacle to a circular economy. One kind of scale is geographic distances; another is time. When, for example, studying waste from incineration facilities (ashes), the scale over time may be of interest as ash has become increasingly interesting for the extraction of metals. The area also wants to focus on the potential risks that exist in moving a burden on the environment rather than solving the problem through recycling and circularity. The area also concerns circularity from an idea history perspective. 

 Industrial clusters

This area focuses on possibilities of local cooperation in thematically or geographically delimited industrial clusters. The area also develops knowledge of business systems, business models and what opportunities and obstacles exist for various kinds of circularity. It becomes possible to use better systems for how natural resources are used when there is greater knowledge of various kinds of business models for recycling.

Recycling from a global perspective

This area focuses on whether the flows of materials can be viewed differently depending on whether they are viewed from a local or global perspective. It is of interest to study how it affects various communities when the production of a product and its use take place in different locations and how this relates to the global material flows.

Email coordinator Martin Wetterstedt for more information about the Circular Economy initiative

Illustration of a circle with a smartphone, a car, a house, clothes and a recycling symbol.
Last modified: 2021-04-13