Arloesedd Economi Gylchol yng Nghymru – Circular Economy Innovation in Wales

Gavin Bunting yn rhannu newydd am grŵp sydd wedi sefydlu i hwyluso arloesi ac ymchwil yr economi gylchol yng Nghymru – Gavin Bunting shares news of a new group established to facilitate circular economy innovation and research in Wales

Mae Dr Gavin Bunting yn Ddarlithydd Cyswllt ac yn Ddirprwy Gyfarwyddwr ar gyfer Arloesedd ac Ymgysylltu yn y Coleg Peirianneg, Prifysgol Abertawe - Dr Gavin Bunting is an Associate Professor and Deputy Director for Innovation and Engagement in the College of Engineering, Swansea University.

Mae’r DU yn cynhyrchu 200 miliwn o dunelli o wastraff bob blwyddyn a chaiff bron i chwarter ohono ei anfon i safleoedd tirlenwi, tra bod nifer o’r adnoddau angenrheidiol ar gyfer defnydd hanfodol megis cynhyrchu pŵer, cyfathrebu ac offer meddygol yn dod yn fwy prin.

 

Yn ogystal, mae’r rhan fwyaf ohonom wedi dod ar draws y sefyllfa lle y mae’n rhatach prynu argraffwr, peiriant golchi neu ffôn newydd ac ati yn hytrach na’u hatgyweirio neu eu diweddaru. Beth yw’r rheswm dros hyn?

 

Un ateb i fynd i’r afael â’r gormodedd o wastraff a’r darfodiad hwn yw trawsnewid yr economi i fod yn gylchol lle y caiff cynhyrchion eu dylunio i sicrhau:

  • Eu bod yn para’n hirach
  • Y gellir eu diweddaru, eu hatgyweirio a’u hailddefnyddio
  • Y gellir adfer ac ailgylchu’r deunyddiau cyfansoddol y maent yn eu cynnwys ar ddiwedd cyfnod y cynnyrch

 

Amcangyfrifwyd gan Sefydliad Ellen MacArthur a Rhaglen Gweithredu’r Cynllun Gwastraff y byddai’r manteision economaidd posibl o weithredu economi gylchol yng Nghymru yn creu £2bn y flwyddyn, ar gyfer y ddau sector canlynol: nwyddau cymhleth tymor canolig, e.e. ceir, offer electronig a pheiriannau; a nwyddau defnyddwyr a ddefnyddir yn aml, e.e. bwyd a diod, dillad a gofal personol.

 

Er mwyn symud tuag at economi gylchol, byddai dull amlddisgyblaethol yn ofynnol sy’n cwmpasu ymchwil ac arloesedd mewn meysydd megis: dylunio cynhyrchion ar gyfer ailwampio ac ailddefnyddio; datblygu deunyddiau newydd a chael gafael ar adnoddau defnyddiol o ddeunyddiau naturiol; datblygu modelau busnes newydd sy’n cymell y gwneuthurwr i ddylunio cynnyrch hir oes; ymchwilio i’r ffordd y gallwn gyfathrebu’r cyfleoedd a herio canfyddiadau economi gylchol.

 

Dim ond drwy gyfuno arbenigedd mewn amrywiaeth eang o ddisgyblaethau y gallwn fynd i’r afael â’r newid sydd ei angen yn y system i wireddu economi gylchol.

 

Mae’r arbenigedd hwn yn bodoli mewn nifer o brifysgolion yng Nghymru a thrwy gydweithio gallwn fynd i’r afael â’r heriau o gynnal economi gylchol. Felly gweithiais gyda chydweithwyr yn y Grŵp Addysg Uwch ar gyfer Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol, Cymru, Canolfan Arbenigedd Rhanbarthol (RCE) Cymru , Llywodraeth Cymru a Phrifysgol Abertawe er mwyn sefydlu’r Grŵp Ymchwil ac Arloesedd mewn Economi Gylchol yng Nghymru.

 

Nod arfaethedig y grŵp yw cysylltu’r arbenigedd a’r profiadau ategol i hwyluso arloesedd ac ymchwil ar economi gylchol yng Nghymru, drwy gyflawni’r nodau canlynol:

 

  • Darparu fforwm i rannu arfer da ac i hwyluso’r broses o gyfnewid gwybodaeth rhwng academia, busnes a llunwyr polisïau.
  • Cydweithio er mwyn cynyddu’r capasiti ymchwil ar economi gylchol mewn sefydliadau yng Nghymru.
  • Ymgysylltu â diwydiant er mwyn datblygu ymchwil a arweinir gan ddiwydiannau.
  • Darparu tystiolaeth i lywio polisïau a rhaglenni’r Llywodraeth.
  • Datblygu fforwm ar-lein i hwyluso’r broses o gyfnewid arfer da, cyfleoedd ariannu, newyddion a digwyddiadau.
  • Arddangos allbynnau economi gylchol y rhwydwaith yn rhyngwladol, gan gefnogi’r broses o ddatblygu partneriaethau rhyngwladol.
  • Cydweithio ar y broses o ddatblygu cwricwlwm a darparu hyfforddiant ar ei gyfer.
  • Cydweithio â rhwydwaith y Ganolfan Arbenigedd Ranbarthol Genedlaethol (RCE) (fel y cydnabu Prifysgol y Cenhedloedd Unedig) i rannu dysgu ac arfer da ar lefel ranbarthol, cenedlaethol a rhyngwladol.

 

Cadeiriais gyfarfod cyntaf y grŵp ar 8 Mehefin, a oedd yn cynnwys cynrychiolwyr o’r prifysgolion canlynol: Aberystwyth, Bangor, Caerdydd, De Cymru, Abertawe a’r Drindod Dewi Sant. Eglurodd Dr Andy Rees, Pennaeth Gwastraff, Llywodraeth Cymru, y sefyllfa gan ddarparu rhai ystadegau defnyddiol a oedd yn amlinellu adnoddau polisi Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer arloesedd economi gylchol.

 

Bu’n gyfarfod cynhyrchiol, lle y gwnaethom drafod syniadau ar sut y gallwn gydweithio ar ymchwil, addysgu, cyfnewid gwybodaeth a llywio polisïau’r llywodraeth. O ran ymchwil, y farn gyffredinol oedd na ddylwn ganolbwyntio ar alw economi gylchol am gyllid ar gyfer ymchwil yn unig – gan fod gan economi gylchol gyfleoedd i ychwanegu newydd-deb ac amrywiaeth eang o feysydd ymchwil. Nodwyd hefyd fod angen i ni edrych ar sut y gallwn wella’r ffordd y caiff economi gylchol ei chyfathrebu â diwydiannau a’r cyhoedd er mwyn annog arloesedd a newid. Yn benodol, cytunwyd ei fod yn bwysig cyfuno cystadleurwydd wrth gyfathrebu â diwydiannau, ynghyd â chanolbwyntio ar y sectorau sy’n bwysig i economi Cymru.  Gallai’r Safon Brydeinig ar gyfer Economi Gylchol, BS-8001, fod yn ffordd ddefnyddiol i ymgysylltu â chwmnïau a rhwydweithiau academia-diwydiant sydd eisioes yn bodoli megis ASTUTE ac i ddarparu llwybr sefydledig ar gyfer cyfnewid gwybodaeth.

 

Nod craidd y grŵp yw annog cydweithredu; caiff hyn ei hwyluso i gychwyn drwy ddarparu cyfeirlyfr o arbenigedd, fel y gall aelodau nodi cydweithredwyr posibl ar gyfer ymchwil yn hawdd. Yn ogystal, byddwn hefyd yn sefydlu bwletin e-bost yn rheolaidd a fforwm lle y gall aelodau drafod meysydd o ddiddordeb. Mae angen cymorth ysgrifenyddiaeth da i gadw grŵp fel hyn i weithio, ac mae Ann Stevenson o Brifysgol Caerdydd yn garedig wedi cynnig darparu hyn.

 

I symud ymlaen, byddwn yn cynnal cyfarfod arall ar gyfer y grŵp yn yr hydref ac yn cynnal sesiynau yng Nghynhadledd RCE Cymru ar 8 o Dachwedd 2018, yng Nghaerdydd, lle y byddwn yn cynnal trafodaethau ysbrydoledig a chynhyrchiol gobeithio.

 

Os oes gennych ddiddordeb mewn bod yn rhan o’r Grŵp, neu os hoffech ragor o wybodaeth cysylltwch â Dr Gavin Bunting ar g.t.m.bunting@swansea.ac.uk, 01792 602802.


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The UK generates 200 million tonnes of waste every year with almost a quarter of that going to landfill,  whilst many of the resources needed for critical applications such as power generation, communications and medical equipment are becoming more scarce.

 

In addition, most of us have come across the scenario where it’s cheaper to buy a new printer, washing machine, phone, etc than it is to repair or upgrade it. Why should this be the case?

 

One solution to tackle this excess waste and obsolescence is to move to a circular economy where products are designed:

 

  • To last longer
  • To be upgraded, repaired and re-used
  • To enable easy recovery and recycling of constituent materials they contain at the end of the product’s life

 

The potential economic benefits to Wales of operating a circular economy have been estimated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to be £2bn annually, for the two sectors of: medium-lived complex goods, e.g. automobile, electronic equipment and machinery; and fast moving consumer goods, e.g. food and beverages, clothing and personal care.

 

Moving towards a circular economy requires a multi-disciplinary approach, encompassing research and innovation into areas such as: designing products for refurbishment and re-use; developing new materials and extracting useful resources from natural materials; developing new business models that incentivise the manufacturer to design a product for longevity; and investigating how can we communicate the opportunities and challenge perceptions of the circular economy.

 

Only by combining expertise across a wide range of disciplines can we truly tackle the systems change needed to make the circular economy a reality.

 

We have a lot of this expertise in Welsh universities and by working together we can address circular economy challenges. I therefore worked with colleagues in the Higher Education for Future Generations Group Wales, the Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) Wales, the Welsh Government and Swansea University to set up the Circular Economy Research and Innovation Group for Wales.  

 

The proposed aim of the group is to connect complementary expertise and experiences to facilitate circular economy innovation and research in Wales, achieved through the following objectives:

 

  • Provide a forum to share good practice and facilitate knowledge exchange between academia, business and policy makers.
  • Through collaboration, increase circular economy research capacity in Welsh institutions.
  • Engage with industry to develop industry led research.
  • Provide evidence to inform Government policy and programmes.
  • Develop an online forum to facilitate exchange of good practice, funding opportunities, news and events.
  • Showcase the network’s circular economy outputs internationally, thus supporting the development of international partnerships.
  • Collaborate on curriculum development and training.
  • Work with the Global Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) network (acknowledged by the United Nations University) to share learning and good practice at regional, national and international levels.

 

I chaired the inaugural meeting of the group on the 8th June, where we had representatives from: Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, South Wales, Swansea, and Trinity Saint David universities. Dr Andy Rees, Head of Waste, Welsh Government, set the scene providing some useful statistics and outlining Welsh Government policy instruments for innovation in the circular economy.

 

It was a productive meeting, where we discussed ideas on how we could collaborate on research, teaching, knowledge transfer and informing government policy. When it came to research it was thought that we shouldn’t just focus on circular economy specific calls for research funding – there are opportunities for the circular economy to add novelty to a wide range of research areas. It was also highlighted that we need to look at how we improve communication of the circular economy to industry and the public in order to encourage innovation and change. In particular, linking to competitiveness when communicating with industry is important, as well as focusing on sectors important to the Welsh economy.  The British Standard for Circular Economy, BS-8001 could provide a useful lever to engage with companies, and existing academia-industry networks such as ASTUTE can provide an established route for knowledge transfer.

 

A core aim of the group is to encourage collaboration; this will initially be facilitated by providing a directory of expertise, so members can easily identify potential collaborators for research. In addition, we will also set up a regular email bulletin and a forum for members to discuss areas of interest. To keep a group such as this working needs good secretariat support, which Ann Stevenson from Cardiff University, has kindly offered to provide.

 

Moving forward, we will hold another meeting of the group in the autumn and will run sessions at the RCE Cymru Conference on the 8th November 2018, in Cardiff, where we hope to have some inspirational and productive discussions.

 

If you are interested in being part of the Group, or would like to find out more please contact Dr Gavin Bunting on g.t.m.bunting@swansea.ac.uk, 01792 602802.

 

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

 

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