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Circular Economy Workshops

The workshops below demonstrate NIST's leadership connecting stakeholders—from government and industry to academia, the financial sector, and international stakeholders—to identify and solve the challenges and opportunities to transitioning into a circular economy.

Past Workshops

Biomass/Food Waste

NIST Food Waste Reduction and Recovery Workshop

NIST's Circular Economy Program hosted a workshop to determine how NIST can serve the food/organic waste community in their efforts to reduce and repurpose the waste. Specifically, the workshop aimed to understand the state of food waste recovery, including for energy and nutrient recovery. Ultimately, it sought to identify-industry wide challenges to overcoming barriers, particularly in the areas of data, measurement science, reference materials, and standards.

Textiles Standards

Identifying Standards Needs to Facilitate a Circular Economy for Textiles

The workshop brought together relevant stakeholders (e.g., textile industry professionals, sorters/graders, recyclers, sustainability professionals) to identify standards needed to facilitate circularity for textiles--like more harmonized input specifications for recycling processes, harmonized terminology, needs for textile sorting, digital identifiers, and circular design. This is a collaboration between NIST, ASTM International, and the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC).

  • October 17-19, 2023
  • Report coming soon
Credit: Noah Last

LCA for Decarbonization

Workshop on Decarbonization: A Gap Analysis of LCA Standards for Industry

NIST collaborated with ASTM International to discuss the current state of life cycle assessment (LCA) and carbon standards. Objectives include identifying gaps in how LCA is used for carbon footprinting, how to better integrate "beyond the gate" (product use and post-use stages), and opportunities for making product category rules more consistent and comparable.

  • October 10-11, 2023
  • Report coming soon
carbon offset market
Credit: Noah Last

Business of Carbon Offsets

The Georgetown University McDonough School of Business hosted a workshop in collaboration with NIST convening speakers from all parts of the carbon offset value chain – including buyers, project developers, carbon registries, and NGOs – to focus on the voluntary carbon market. The conversations aimed to identify ways to ensure markets become more efficient in supporting the development and scaling of innovative decarbonization strategies.

  • September 14, 2023
  • Report coming soon
Plastic pellets

Plastics (Data Harmonization)

Data and Harmonization for Plastics

Efforts are underway at the federal, state, local, and international levels to better manage plastic products and packaging. This collaboration between NIST, EPA, USDA, NOAA, DoE, and others discusses the gaps in data across the polymers/plastics value chain, ways that plastics data are being collected and used, data evaluation methods, and what an infrastructure to support data-driven solutions to plastic management might look like.
Circular Concrete
Credit: Kelsea Schumacher


Construction Materials

Fostering a Circular Economy and Carbon Sequestration for Construction Materials

Industry leaders are simultaneously under pressure to reduce/reuse construction waste and produce concrete with a lower embodied carbon. In this workshop, industry stakeholders discuss measurement science and standards needs to create a more circular economy for building materials, with a focus on concrete.



Fostering a Circular Economy for Manufacturing Materials

NIST collaborated with ASTM International on a workshop with stakeholders from the manufacturing industry, governments, and academia to identify standards needed to create a circular economy for the manufacturing industry. The resulting report includes a standards roadmap.

Facilitating a Circular Economy for Textiles


Facilitating a Circular Economy for Textiles

Textiles are one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world, but recovery rates for the material are low. In this workshop, stakeholders across the textiles industry discuss the needs and opportunities for creating a circular economy for textiles.

Mass Balance Square

Mass Balance Accounting

Assessment of Mass Balance Accounting Methods for Polymers

This workshop and resulting technical report assesses the existing mass balance methodologies, standards, and certification systems that are applicable to the supply chain sustainability of polymers. Mass balance is vital for traceability in a circular economy, and is especially relevant for plastics recycling.

high tech waste square
Credit: andreahuyoff/Pixabay

Electronic Waste

Circular Economy in the High-Tech World

Electronics are complex and have multiple components, making them a challenge for a circular economy. NIST and industry stakeholders assess the technical and economic barriers to keeping electronics, batteries, and solar panels in the economy and out of unwanted sinks.


Created March 16, 2023, Updated April 15, 2024