Monday 6 September 2021

Circular economy and sustainable management of resources: UIC presents the REUSE final report

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The REUSE project has delivered its final report, taking stock of sustainable resource management practices in European rail with a view to providing a selection of tried and tested approaches and “quick wins” to help rail companies on their journey towards circularity

Rail has long been frugal in its culture and has practiced closed loop systems in the way it has managed assets for decades. It is however clear that more can and should be done to reduce waste, carbon and costs. Against the backdrop of a growing interest in recent years in the sustainable use of resources in the railway sector, UIC launched the REUSE project in 2019. REUSE addresses the challenges associated with the scarcity of natural resources, as well as management of waste, waste flows, end-of-life materials and related emissions and pollution in the coming decades.

Although worn-out materials and equipment may be considered a problem in some cases, they are now increasingly being recognised as a resource. This change of perspective has been addressed in the context of the REUSE project to show that decreasing the environmental footprint of resources is not only beneficial to our ecosystem but can also result in significant cost savings if carefully planned and implemented.

The two-year project included a series of collaborative knowledge-sharing working group meetings and research on circularity practices in railways (desktop research, online survey and interviews). The final deliverables comprise an interactive webinar held on 15 April 2021, as well as this final report.

Both of the final project deliverables were produced with the support of researchers from the Slovenian National Building and Civil Institute (ZAG), who were commissioned to help conduct the workshop and draft the report.

REUSE project final report: circular practices in the railways and paths forward

This new research report is an easy-to-use reference guide for UIC members looking to better understand circular economy concepts and strategies. This best practice guide shares cost saving and innovative applications of the circular economy principles in real, tried and tested case studies in Europe’s railways. The report also highlights lessons and good practices to be taken from other sectors and transport modes.

Access the report:

The REUSE project and final report are available on the project webpage: https://uic.org/projects/article/reuse

The report can be downloaded free of charge at: https://uic.org/IMG/pdf/reuse_project_final_report.pdf

For more information on the UIC Circular Economy Sector’s ongoing activities, please visit https://uic.org/sustainability/circular-economy/ or contact Isabelle de Keyzer, UIC Senior advisor, Environment and Sustainability: dekeyzer@uic.org or circular@uic.org

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