Circular economy is an important tool to challenge energy consumption, resources depletion and pollution.
A circular economy could increase the efficiency of primary resource consumption in Europe and the world. By conserving materials embodied in high value products or returning wastes to the economy as high‑quality secondary raw materials, a circular economy would reduce the demand for primary raw materials. This would help reduce Europe’s dependence on imports, making the procurement chains for many industrial sectors less subject to the price volatility of international commodity markets and supply uncertainty due to scarcity and/or geopolitical factors. – EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENT AGENCY
The so-called “take, make, dispose” linear economy model which societies rely upon has led to worrying environmental problems. The concept of circular economy challenges the current unsustainable model – its prerogative is resource conservation and it has the potential to fully close the loop.
Global waste management has been neglected over the past decades. Far too much plastic has been improperly discarded into the natural environment. The litter affects biodiversity, enters the food chain and eventually has an impact on our health.
Circular economy enforces eco-design, waste prevention, recycling and energy efficiency, which helps tackle the environmental pollution problem. Designing eco-friendly, easily recyclable and energy efficient products by using fewer resources would enable manufacturing durable goods that could be recycled into quality recyclates. Therefore, the maximum of available resources would be restored and virtually no waste would be landfilled. Furthermore, this transition would result in a snowball effect by positively impacting our lives and health, and by saving natural resources, reducing Europe’s dependency on foreign resources, and boosting creation of cleaner industries, jobs and technology developments.
South Africa is uniquely positioned to become the pioneer of the green economy and to offset the negative externalities of the linear model. The ground work to facilitate the transition was laid out by introducing the Circular Economy Package. However, it is unacceptable that recycling remains still in the third position, behind landfill and incineration. By pushing for higher targets, global recyclability guidelines, ban on landfill and standards on sorting we can change the current state of the affairs.
Read more about the circular economy.