08 December 2019

Circular Economies ~ From Trashflow to Cashflow

I've become increasingly intrigued by the circular economies idea wherein the classic linear material and energy flows going from source-to-sink are supplanted by recycling or reuse or waste-use material flow loops. Sarah Murray makes The case for a circular world in the recent FT Special Report on the Circular Economy...
"This is an approach to industrial and consumption systems that shifts from linear “take-make-dispose” models to circular ones that return what comes from nature to the production cycle. This means going back to the drawing board.  For example, Steelcase, the US office furniture maker, designs products with disassembly in mind. […] "we’re trying to, by design, keep things in the system as opposed to just reducing their negative impact,” […] For some companies, this has meant rethinking the business model. [Umcore made] the shift from mining operations to a business in refining, recycling and recovering speciality metals. […] DSM, a life sciences and materials sciences group [is] looking at how to recycle and reuse 100 per cent of carpets by making them from a single type of material, rather than from multiple materials. […] “People are frustrated by the extent of packaging and by having to throw a washing machine out after three years. Companies are responding —- that’s a big shift.”
In the WEF report Towards the circular economy: Accelerating the scale-up across global supply they spotlight -- and illustrate -- the material flows of a restorative industry system...
"First, a circular economy aims to design out waste. [...] Second, circularity introduces a strict differentiation between consumable and durable components of a product. [...] Third, the energy required to fuel this cycle should be renewable by nature."

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