In the resource management sector, when a group of ‘strategic colleagues’ meets up, one of the conversations I’ve often heard around the table is a lament as to why politicians and the media are so focused on carrier bags, or plastic bottles, or coffee cups, or any other single product or waste stream in the news that day. They argue that this is deflecting attention from the holistic and more important bigger picture around resource productivity and the circular economy. Given that several of these specific issues featured in Michael Gove’s first keynote speech on the environment recently, I imagine this conversation is live once more. Read more
Category Archives: Circular economy
This post is by Richard Gower, senior associate for economics and policy at Tearfund. This post first appeared on Tearfund’s policy blog.
In poor nations, millions of people already make their living from ‘circular’ trades such as repair and recycling. The way we design our products in the EU – the toxic chemicals we permit and the ease of repair that we require – has a strong influence over their livelihoods. But these impacts are not currently considered as part of the process for setting design standards.
This post is by Libby Peake, senior policy adviser on resources at Green Alliance.
Perhaps the favourite statistic of those advocating for more sharing in our economy is that the average power drill is used for only 12 or 13 minutes over the entire course of its lifetime. This is especially significant as millions of new household power drills are sold in the UK each year, and then simply gather dust in sheds up and down the country. To people thinking about better use of resources, it seems like there’s an obvious problem here, as well as an obvious solution: a nation stockpiling power tools that are hardly ever used ought to share them more. Read more
This blog was first posted on EurActiv.
Plastics have brought huge benefits to our society. But with those benefits come environmental problems. Too often, plastic ends up as waste, as marine litter polluting the oceans, or as litter on our beaches.
Lightweight, durable, and low cost plastics have transformed the products we make and consume, becoming ubiquitous through their convenience and adaptability.
It is now just over a year since the European Commission published its Circular Economy Action Plan, with the bold aim of abandoning the old make-use-dispose economy in favour of ‘closing the loop’ and keeping resources in circulation. To mark this milestone, the Commission has just published its first annual report, reviewing its progress in implementing the plan.
The problem of glittery Christmas waste unexpectedly made the front page of the Daily Mail this month. The story rightly highlighted the confusion and frustration people feel trying to work out what they can recycle, compounded by the fact that different local authorities have different recycling policies. Read more
Back in 2007, Green Alliance examined the challenges and opportunities for the more sustainable use of nutrients, chiefly nitrogen and phosphorus, in the UK. It recommended a suite of policy principles to make a more circular system a reality.
Little has happened since in the UK. But last month I was asked to present Green Alliance’s policy principles to a conference of Nordic countries in Malmo, and to discuss how to take the agenda forward. I discovered that the ideas remain relevant and useful. Read more
The EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan committed to use the Ecodesign Directive to make the products we use more readily recyclable, repairable and reusable. The European Commission yesterday announced their new ecodesign priorities, but will they give us better products? Read more
The plan will cover the next group of energy related products to be given an innovation boost through ecodesign policies, which drive up energy efficiency standards, rewards market leaders and takes inefficient products off the market. Ecodesign has been one of the EU’s most successful policies: it is already saving each European household €330 per year, and will deliver 40 per cent of the EU’s 2020 energy savings target. Read more
This post is by Thomas Fischer, head of the Circular Economy Programme at Environmental Action Germany (DUH)
This week we celebrated a rather tragic landmark: the point when we used up all the resources that our planet can regenerate in one year. The fact that Earth Overshoot Day happened in early August points to the gravity of resource overconsumption, but the costs are already visible in ocean acidification, water pollution, destruction of forests and nearly every other environmental problem. Fortunately, there is a solution: a resource efficient circular economy. Germany has pursued a circular economy agenda for the past decade in industry, but retailers haven’t been keeping up.