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Leuven Materials Research Centre Sustainable Development, a challenge for European Research, Brussels, 26-28 May 2009 A transition towards Sustainable.

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Presentation on theme: "Leuven Materials Research Centre Sustainable Development, a challenge for European Research, Brussels, 26-28 May 2009 A transition towards Sustainable."— Presentation transcript:

1 Leuven Materials Research Centre Sustainable Development, a challenge for European Research, Brussels, May 2009 A transition towards Sustainable Materials Management in Flanders Karel Van Acker, K.U.Leuven – Materials Research Centre

2 2 KVA/v Content Preamble: current materials management and the need for transition Can the complex problem of sustainable materials management be tackled by transition management? Transition towards sustainable materials management in Flanders Examples: closing the cycle Concluding remarks

3 3 KVA/v Preamble: current materials management and the need for transition

4 4 KVA/v Flemish Waste Management Flanders has excellent results for sorting waste BUT total amount stays stable MIRA-T 2007 Indicatorrapport - Milieurapport Vlaanderen. 2007, Vlaamse Milieumaatschappij

5 5 KVA/v Flemish Waste Management MIRA-T 2007 Indicatorrapport - Milieurapport Vlaanderen. 2007, Vlaamse Milieumaatschappij

6 6 KVA/v energy emissions miningproductionuse phaseEnd-of-Life resourceswaste

7 7 KVA/v Emissions GHG emission ± 4200 Mton/yr (Europe) CO 2 others CO 2 and other GHGs Health risks Biodiversity Accumulation in the environment Impacts are relatively well described by LCA

8 8 KVA/v Materials life cycle miningproductionuse phaseEnd-of-Life resourceswaste

9 9 KVA/v Materials/Energy Energy vs Materials ENERGYMATERIALS resourcescoal, petroleum, nat. gas, Uhuge diversity additivesnonemixed stocks (in technosphere)almost purely flowlarge stocks in society waste and recyclingonly emissions (radio-active waste) is a serious problem comparison with surrogatesenergy-equivalentvalue of materials??

10 10 KVA/v Other materials management issues Resources: shrinking resources, rapidly increasing prices, extremely dependent, capacity of the biosphere Environmental impact Social implications But also: Fragmented policy: waste disposal policy, product policy, innovation policy, economics Complexity and uncertainty of the system A transformation towards sustainable materials management implies changes in the physical, legal and social infrastructure as well as in the mindsets, values and attitudes of many actors

11 11 KVA/v Can the complex problem of sustainable materials management be tackled by transition management?

12 12 KVA/v Transitions substantial change in our way of doing AND a revision of the obvious rules a structural change of a societal system –result of economic, cultural, technological, institutional as well as environmental developments –take at least one generation time –takes place at different levels –occur spontaneously, but NOT necessarily in a sustainable direction examples are: –biobased plastics fossil oil based plastics –sailingsteamships –high birth rateslow birth rates

13 13 KVA/v Transition management Can transitions be managed? –not top down, by control –tackle persistent system failures by steering them in a more sustainable direction –through a visionary, cyclical process of agenda building experimenting learning

14 14 KVA/v Transition management Elements: –developing a long-term vision as framework for short term action experimenting in niches –experimenting in niches (micro level) by individual actors is interlinked and interacts with the meso- scale and macro-level –stimulating radical changes instead of incremental evolutions –active role of multiple actors –options are kept open Striving for system innovation at a conceptual, relational and action-driven level

15 15 KVA/v Transition towards sustainable materials management in Flanders

16 16 KVA/v The Flemish Transition Network Sustainable Materials Management °2006: founded by the Flemish government and the Public Waste Agency of Flanders 2009: about 100 active members and several experiments started up The mission is to create concrete breakthroughs in sustainable materials management, by –a transition management and integral innovation approach –creating and dissiminating a long term vision on SSM –networking with all actors, including industry, academia, administration, NGO –creating a space for experimenting, initiating and supporting transition experiments –learning and upscaling experiments –building an open knowledge network –building bridge with the government

17 17 KVA/v Transition management proces visionary leitbild 20xx strategic visions 2030 closing the circle tailor-made materials service economy conscious society green plastics 2009 experiments phase 1 phase 3 phase 2 learning & upscaling

18 18 KVA/v visionary leitbild High-grade cycle-oriented economy –responsible cradle to cradle –local production and consumption cycles –new type of entreprises High-level of materials innovation minimized harmful consequences service economy –material infrastructure policy –integral material control social responsibility –transparancy –alert consumers synergetic interaction international collaboration

19 19 KVA/v strategic visions Transition pathways smart closing the circle materials innovation service economy conscious society green plastics 1 to 1 production material efficient production multifunctionality and high quality closing the loop by materials innovations 50% 80% DMC import Today: –Resources: 99.9% fossil 0.1% renewable –Waste :13% landfill, 28% recycling, 59% energy Towards 2030: –Resources:X% fossil (100-X)% renewable –Waste: 0% landfill, > X% recycling, < (100-X)% energy polymers as CO2 sink

20 20 KVA/v closing the loop by materials innovations closed material loops technosphere knowledge/control material flows extended materials responsibility ? reverse logistics AB design for cycle biosphere biomimetic materials biobased materials 2030 smaller transparant material cycles 2008 uncontrollable, obscure, global material flows

21 21 KVA/v Materials Innovation Pathways General directions of solutions: process intensification increasing efficiency, decreasing environmental burden of winning and prodcution, eco-efficiency more sustainable products more functionality, durable materials, reduction of emission during use, energy-efficient materials, materials substitution (e.g. light weighting), dematerialisation renewable material sources bio-based materials re-use, recycling, recovery of materials in the technosphere using what is left (landfill mining) sustainable design design for closing the circle, for dissassembling, …

22 22 KVA/v Phase 3 : experiments visionary leitbild 20xx strategic visions 2030 closing the circle tailor-made materials service economy conscious society green plastics 2009 experiments phase 1 phase 3 phase 2 learning & upscaling High risk, but high potential for breakthrough towards sustainable materials management CRITERIA LEARNING EVALUATION

23 23 KVA/v Example: closing the cycle

24 24 KVA/v Enhanced landfill mining uncontrolled dumping of waste enhanced waste management

25 25 KVA/v Enhanced landfill mining resources use waste energy removal Time path long term recovery Direct application products

26 26 KVA/v integral innovation Technological issues, hand in hand with innovations in business model, regulatory framework, societal acceptance, multiparty collaboration, …

27 27 KVA/v Multidisciplinary appraoch Team consists of technology developers, governmental representative, social scientist, industrials, neighbourhood, … Research domainResearch question(s) RegulationWhich stimulating measures are needed or desired? How to deal with changing and lacking regulation? How to consider spatial aspects and redestination of the landfill after mining? What are the conditions under which mixing of waste is acceptable for reuse? … EconomicsWhat is the economic feasibility of ELFM? How to balance energetic valorisation with material recuperation (economic and societal considerations)? How to convince the investors to apply the most sustainable technique in the long term EcologyWhat environmental risk is acceptable? What is the overall sustainability balance of ELFM? TechnologyHow to optimise the future function of landfills as waste storage sites? Multi-actorHow can all stakeholders be involved (such as technology developers, business partners, investors, neighbourhood …)? What are the different scenarios, opportunities and thresholds? Societal acceptanceWhat is the societal desirability? What are the barriers for the consumers and how to overcome them if desired?

28 28 KVA/v Closing the circle: the action Bron ARC Valorisatie Afvalstoffen

29 29 KVA/v Concluding remarks

30 30 KVA/v Concluding remarks transition management as new governance model –long-term vision, experimenting, learning –multi-actor process new collaborations transition management in Flanders is being implemented for sustainable materials management. –clear vision on and pathways towards sustainable materials management –phase of starting up experiments

31 31 KVA/v Concluding remarks CAUTION: some pitfalls: –While being a technology based topic, sustainable materials management also has much to do with legislation, economics, social justice... is it possible to integrate all these aspects of innovation in 1 process or project? –Reducing transition management to technological innovation, due to leading role of industries fragmented view financing bodies/governements still mainly focussing on technological innovation –Can a transition management process be conducted without power? –Will the government to take up the needed pro-active engaging role? We NOW need creativity, enthousiasm, solidarity, decisiveness to turn these ideas and concepts into our and the future generations reality

32 32 KVA/v More information? Flemish Transition Network Sustainable Materials Management: Materials Research at K.U.Leuven:


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