Success Story: A call for "circular economy" projects in the Pays de la Loire Region

Faced with the challenges posed by climate change, population growth, increasing energy needs, waste production and pressure on natural and fossil resources, the Pays de la Loire Region has made its transition to greener energy a priority. The regional policy aims to transform those challenges into an opportunity for the economic and social development of the region, by supporting the transition to a circular economy.

(Photo Pexels)

This circular economy enables the development of new ways of producing and consuming in order, on the one hand, to limit the consumption of resources and, on the other hand, to reintroduce waste material into the production cycles. It contributes to boosting economic development and the creation of jobs and values in the territories by promoting an economy of production, reuse, recycling and consumption in short, local loops (Pays de la Loire Regional Council, PAEC, 2019). 

In order to make this transition to the circular economy, the Pays de la Loire Region wants to build on the concrete and innovative initiatives taken by many players in the Loire region and support their deployment. In 2018, the Regional Council launched its first call for projects to support the "circular economy". Fifty-three projects applied and twenty were selected. The thirty-three projects that were not selected have been oriented to other funding opportunities.  

Following the success of this first edition and in order to reinforce the dynamics initiated, the Region launched a new call for projects in 2019, jointly with the regional branch of ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency. It works at the national and regional levels to develop the circular economy) and the DREAL (Direction Régionale de l'Environnement, de l'Aménagement et du Logement. It supports the implementation of the government's Circular Economy Roadmap, particularly in terms of mobilising stakeholders and educating them about the environment and sustainable development), making it possible to offer a one-stop-shop to project leaders and to pool the respective financial resources. This call for projects supports innovative or exemplary projects across the entire loop of the circular economy, which must serve as demonstrators: the transferability of projects is thus an essential factor in obtaining regional aid. 

This new call received one hundred and twenty-five applications, covering the following themes: ecodesign, the economy of functionality, territory-businesses, citizen education, the biological and food loop, extension of the period of use and recycling. The project leaders are local authorities, associations, companies and universities. Forty-one applications have been selected for this 2019 edition. This increase in the number of applications is indicative of the growing importance of the circular economy theme. In order to accompany this dynamic, the budget allocated to the call for projects was increased from 414 431 € in 2018 to 900 685 € in 2019 (in addition to 1 million € from ADEME and 60 000 € from DREAL).  

Thanks to the BIOREGIO project and the active network of its stakeholders in Pays de la Loire, the bioeconomy theme has been strengthened in this 2019 call for projects: the budget allocated to support "food/biological loop" projects has thus been increased. The Regional Council wishes to pursue this orientation, and the integration of a section dedicated to the bioeconomy within the regional call for projects "circular economy" has been integrated as an objective within the BIOREGIO action plan "Towards a bio-based circular economy in Pays de la Loire", which will be implemented in 2020-2021.