Expansion of Circular Economy concept in the Central Europe local productive districts:
Waste Avoidance in Enterprises by Circular Economy (CIRCE2020)



Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE Programme, European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

Supported by researchers of the Work Area Waste Treatment and Resource Management at the University Innsbruck, the project CIRCE2020 is realized by ATM GmbH in the pilot region Tyrol. Besides ATM, seven other partners from four EU member states are involved (Italy, Poland, Hungary, Croatia)



Project Duration:

July 1st, 2017 – May 31st, 2020

Project Description:

Our traditional economic system is based on the expectation that raw materials are available forever, and in unlimited quantities. In an open linear economy, most of the raw materials in the production and supply chains are transformed into wastes (Figure 1).

Linear economy

 Figure 1: Concept of an open linear economy (source: ATM GmbH)

In our world of limited resources, this traditional system has been recognized more and more as obsolete, and efforts are made towards a circular economic system where raw materials are reused various times in circular flows or in cascades. In a circular economy, the consumption of virgin raw materials is minimized, and thus, much less wastes and emissions are produced (Figure 2).


Figure 2: Concept of a closed loop circular economy


The objectives of this project are to develop industrial symbioses among enterprises.

To do so, the following steps have to be taken:

  • to research and select suitable residues
  • to assess the residues of one production process for their suitability as a secondary raw material for another production process
  • to evaluate the secondary raw material’s environmental and economic performances using the methodologies of Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Costing
  • to test the secondary raw material in technical scale.

Two waste streams were picked out for further analysis:

  1. organic fraction of Innsbruck’s mechanically treated municipal household wastes, as an input material in biodigesters at waste water treatment plants, in order to increase their biogas production and overall efficiency.
  2. used wood, p. ex. from crates and pallets, as an input material for the production of biogenic activated charcoal for the production of filters for specific applications.


Contact Information:

Universität Innsbruck
Univ-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Anke Bockreis
Technikerstrasse 13
6020 Innsbruck

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