Roadmap and Case Studies

Case Studies

Case screening
  • Agro-food and Biomass
  • Construction
  • Electronic and Chemistry
  • Plastics
  • Textiles
  • Transportation
  • high-value utilization
  • product as a service
  • systems partnership
biological cycle
  • ALL
  • by-product recovery
  • full use
  • polyculture
  • production optimization
  • resource recovery
  • separation/collection
technical cycle
  • ALL
  • material sourcing
  • process optimization
  • product design
  • recycle
  • refurbish/remanufacture
  • repair/reuse
  • separation/collection

Taiwan’s Innovative AgriDragon Biomimicry Farming System

Agro-food and Biomass

Plenty of resources on the planet are utilized to sustain the development of the food industry,
including 50% of habitable lands and 70% of clean water used in agriculture that produces food. Due to a huge consumption of resources, the agro-food production system is facing an unprecedented crisis. In 2009, scientists proposed the theory of planet boundaries, listing 9 vital systems that regulate the stability and resilience of the planet. Once the limits are exceeded, it will bring forth risks that impact human society at present and beyond. In the updated version in 2015, 4 out of the 9 planet boundaries have been exceeded, and 2 of which are land and nitrogen and phosphorus cycle the agrofood system rely on.

If we turn our eye back to Taiwan, the food supply is not self-sufficient in Taiwan due to limited land resources. Hence, we should work harder to build a renewable food production system. From farm lands to factories and from market to table, systemic adjustments are required to change the industrial culture and consumer culture, creating new opportunities for agro-food cycle.

Food wastes should be reduced first of all. According to the statistics of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), the food wastes in Taiwan in 2018 is approximately 600,000 tons, those mixed in garbage as well as the wastes in the processes of production, processing, and transportation not included. To solve such issue, it requires collaboration between enterprises and communities, so as to properly utilize surplus food and imperfect produce.
As for the part that cannot be utilized, they will be turned into feed, fertilizer, and energy to return to the system as nutrients that usher in the opportunity to the next cycle. Next, by-products in production process are turned into innovative materials that are eco-friendly and high in value, creating higher values for the agro-food system. Last but not the least, say
goodbye to the conventional agriculture that exploit fertility for productivity. Stop using fertilizers and pesticides without restraint. Instead, let us construct a land and environment in cycle, a circular system that supports production, life, and ecology.

From Disposable to Reusable with a Togo-Container-Rental Service


"Plastics", though it brings us convenient life, has brought a colossal threat to the environment. According to the UN's report, only 9% of plastic waste worldwide are recycled. The report from Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) also suggests that if we do business as usual, the plastics in the ocean will be more than fish in the ocean by 2050. In light of the low recycling rate of plastics and their ease of dissemination in the environment, countries
around the world have listed plastic circulation as a major issue. To tackle the threat brought by plastics, countries have started to ponder on how to improve recycling means while seeking new reutilization technologies. Nevertheless, it is more important to change fundamentally, thinking about how to recycle at the rear end since the conception
of products while restricting or forbidding those difficult to circulate.

According to the statistics of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), to produce products associated with plastics, we import 12 million tons of raw materials annually in Taiwan, including crude oil as well as the raw materials, products, and wastes of
plastics. After being processed in factories, over 70% are exported, 1.5 million tons for domestic usage, and 1.25 million recycled for reutilization.

To promote circulation of plastics, it requires collaboration between the government and the
industries. Apart from regulations, domestic manufacturers also set about material sourcing,
designing products beneficial to circulation, promote reduction or reutilization of plastic products to minimize plastic wastes, and even create innovative recycling systems to bring recycling and living closer to each other.

Thanks to the limited resources and the geological restrictions, Taiwan has developed a good foundation for recycling and advanced processing technologies. Along with various innovative ideas implemented among communities, on the tide of global circular economy, we stand a chance and are capable of playing the role of a leader in the global circulation of plastics.

Circular Architecture-Sells Residential Services and Does Not Sell Houses


The textile industry of Taiwan supplies major garment brands in the world 70% of functional fabrics for outdoor wears and 40% of that for sports. The main materials supplied are polyester fibers and nylon fibers. The fibers are not exported directly, but in the form of fabrics after processing. The export quantity accounts for 68% of the total export, converting values up to 3 times. In recent years, the development of the industry is impacted owing
to the competition of other countries and the limited petrochemical resources.

In 2018, Taiwan Textile Research Institute and Metabolic from the Netherlands jointly conducted analysis and survey on the material flow of the textile industry in Taiwan. The result reveals that for the post-consumer textile, only 6.7% is reused. The report also suggests the advantage of the textile industry in Taiwan and the direction for promoting circular economy in the future:

• Taiwan is a leader in the technology to transform plastic bottles into textile. Within 10 years
of validation worldwide and recognition from the markets, it can be a center of 100%
renewable polyester fabrics for global procurement. It can also develop bio-based textile
made of organic wastes to reduce impacts to the environment while improving the added

• Circularity is to be redefined. Based on the R&D experience of recycled textile of Taiwan and
the partnership with international research institutes, we are developing innovative
technology that separate blend fabrics. It is estimated that we may proclaim a successful
100% recycling of textile and export the technology to the world.

• Advanced tracing technology for textile is to be developed and a recycling logistics system
is to be constructed to trace post-consumer textile's production history f rom being recycled
to secondary raw materials. The production of textile should take the ease of disassembly
into consideration at the beginning of the design phase, so that post-consumer textile can
be collected smoothly to manufacturers. Hence, the time and labor for disassembly is
reduced to bestow the recycled fibers more competitiveness than raw materials.

• Taiwan's manufacturing technology of functional textile is exceptional with advanced
electronic industry. The world is putting an emphasis on the production and innovation of
"smart textiles." If Taiwan becomes the country that is capable of disassembling two or more
materials from smart textiles and possesses a system to recycle smart textiles, Taiwan shall
be the technology leader in the world.
• Production process is to be optimized. For materials that cannot be retained or recycled,
innovative design of biodegradable materials should be employed while substance of very
high concern is avoided to prevent any harm to the human race or the environment.
• Detailed data of the circular performances in Taiwanese textile industry are to be collected
systematically, so that Taiwan can assess the gap of circular performance in the textile
industry between Taiwan and the other countries, which can be used to elaborate and
promote to international sports brands the benefits of purchasing from Taiwan.

The Holland Pavilion at the 2018 Taichung World Flora Exposition: the First Circular Building in Taiwan


The construction industry is the sole large industry that constructs the living, security, and transportation for humanity in the world. It is also an essential foundation for other industrial developments. As a result, the quantity of materials it uses accounts for roughly 40-50% of the annual material usage in total worldwide according to the statistics. In Taiwan, the
production volume of raw steel is approximately 80 million tons per year, that of cement 12 million tons per year, and the usage of granules of sands and stones is about 80 million tons per year. Except for steel, the recycling rate of which is approximately 35% and has formed a market mechanism with values, circulations of the majority of the rest are low in value, nevertheless.

Now that the construction industry is the industry with the highest percentage of resource utilization. Amidst the tide of circular economy, the industry can make a transition from the linear economy's mindset back in the days. Eff icient utilization, reutilization, and adding values of resources for usage are encouraged. Ultimately, in the evercirculation of resources in the industry, the economic benefits derived from resource utilization replacing the economic model of resource consumption is created to achieve the goal of a sustainable industry
and a sustainable planet. The circular economy for Taiwan's construction industry may be enhanced via 6 aspects as follows:

• Extension of the existing buildings'life cycles along with energy efficiency.
• Designs of reusage and reutilization of new buildings.
• Establishment of a reasonable assessment system for construction circulation.
• Promotion of shared construction materials through rental services.
• Improvement of circulated materials through collaborative partnership.
• Quantification and target-setting for the management of total resource circularity in the
construction industry.

New Value for Car Seat Production


The automotive industry was steered with policies traditionally. In light of the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), Internet of Vehicles (IoV), and Artificial Intelligence (AI), the industry is undergoing a rapid change. With an increasing demand of Vehicle as Service from consumers, automotive suppliers are forced to respond with innovative business models. Take the Netherlands for example, only one-third of automobiles were sold to the end consumers in 2015, whereas rental services doubled compared to that in 2014. It is estimated to rise by triple in 2020.

The average life of privately-owned car is 9.7 years, while that of rental car is 6.2 years thanks to the higher usage. The novel demand is shortening the life cycle of automobile. The conventional vehicle recycling produces barely any value, while still causing environmental pollution, nevertheless. Hence, the suppliers nowadays find themselves in a huge challenge.

The annual industrial output of the automotive industry in Taiwan is over NT$600 billion. According to the statistics f rom the Directorate General of Highways, MOTC, there were a total of 8 million vehicles in Taiwan in 2018. There lie greater needs for innovative automotive business model from the consumers. To meet these needs, the automotive suppliers have to develop more pro-active circular strategies for Design and Production, Use, and End of Use, in response to the rapid-changing market and the momentum for innovation from the new
forms of competitors, such as developing recyclable, low impact materials, design for disassembly, smart system, lifetime extension, revised and upgraded components, take back, parts recovery, and material recycling and upcycling. Ultimately, a more actively collaboration with the overall supply chain is required for a better model of circular economy.

A Zero-waste, Eco-friendly and Cost-effective Total Solution, for LCD Waste Treatment

Electronic and Chemistry

According to the statistics of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the industrial output of the
manufacturing industry in Taiwan in 2018 is 14 trillion and 39.1 billion New Taiwan Dollars (NTD). In which, the Manufacture of Electronic Parts and Components (IC, panel, PCB, etc.) sector is approximately 3.8 trillion NTD and the Manufacture of Chemical Material sector 2 trillion NTD, accounting for over 40% of the output. It shows the significance of the two sectors to Taiwan. As technology evolves, the more production processes are required, and
more complex the chemicals used and wastes produced are. Therefore, pollution control has
always been a focused issue of the government and the industries. In addition, the raw materials for production are mostly imported. In the face of global competition on resources, there are indeed risks of supply. Hence, we should work our ways to improve the efficiency of resource utilization in circulation. A circular economy thus is the very critical direction for
industrial development.

The most basic principle is the reutilization of wastes. By-products f rom the processes are used as the raw materials for other industries. To elevate the values of resources, we should start with the sorting mechanism from the start, so as to reduce the complexity of waste composition for further reutilization that follows. Also, enterprises should reexamine their processes to improve efficiency of energy and resources. Aside from the circular usage of water and chemicals, the remanufacturing of equipment should be included to reduce the
resources required in order to minimize costs and maximize competitiveness. Cross-sector
collaboration is needed in the process. The reduction of raw material consumption shall bring forth impacts to the existing business models. Suppliers should engage a fundamental transition of their means to profit, creating a better relationship with customers from product supply to service provision.