Circular economy

Here’s how circular economy can save the climate

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian

The Guardian explains 4 reasons why the new economic system can play a key role in the fight against climate change.

The fight against climate change has found an ally that could bring together both the needs of the industrial sector and the respect for the environment. We are talking about the circular economy, the new resource management system in which nothing is wasted and everything is reused and recycled to feed new raw materials into the manufacturing cycle.

The British newspaper The Guardian recently wrote about a report published by Circle Economy and Ecofys that shows how adopting a circular kind of economy can help sensibly reduce CO2 emissions. The reduction of carbon emissions is now not only an environmental need but also a political commitment: the recent climate agreement concluded in the 2015 Paris COP21 conference asks participating countries to limit the rise of global temperature within 1.5°C, with a considerable reduction of emissions by 2030.

The Guardian identified 4 ways circular economy can play a key role in fighting climate change:

Do more with less

Roughly 60 billion tons of raw materials are extracted from the earth annually. That is the equivalent of 22 kg per person per day. Half of these materials are the fuels we burn and the food we eat. Of all these raw materials, only 7% are reused. The circular economy promotes the reusing of materials through repair, refurbishment and upgrading.

Substitute carbon-intensive materials

The cement industry alone is responsible for approximately 5% of current emissions globally. In order to incentivise energy efficiency measures, current climate policies focus on reducing emissions per ton of cement produced. This mentality only lessens the amount of emissions instead of finding a safe alternative for the product, and too often ignores other solutions such as substituting concrete or designing modular buildings.

Efficient use of resources and energy

In developed countries, 55% to 65% of greenhouse gas emissions are related to the extraction, transport and processing of raw materials, according to the OECD. Increasing circularity means reducing our dependence on raw materials and results in a reduction in the amount of energy needed to extract, transport and process these materials.

Disrupt the digital stage

Established business models are beginning to be replaced and the circular economy is adding to the increased momentum of this new, disruptive age. Physical services are being replaced by online equivalents, effectively dematerialising services. For example, in the music industry, CDs have essentially been replaced by online streaming services. This reduction in material use due to service delivery is optimising resource use and maximising value.

Source: The Guardian

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