The economic model that currently prevails is linear; it is based on “produce, use and throw away” and there it all ends. However, this model of production and management of resources, goods and services is leading the planet to disaster.
The short-term consumption that promotes this model is unsustainable due to the production of large amounts of waste. Its consequences are observed not only at the end of the consumption line, at the not take advantage items that can be reused or recycled. Its consequences also affect production at the beginning, since is constantly demanding new raw material.
In contrast to the linear model, the circular economy model has emerged, which develops economic, environmental and social proposals for the sustainability of the planet. Here you can see more.
The circular economy is here to ‘sustain’ us
The circular economy is based mainly on concepts of reduce, reuse and recycle. And take the rest of nature as a reference, because humans are the only living organism that generates garbage. The remains that nature generates are immediately returned to the system so that they become part of other living organisms. It’s about a closed circle in which everything flows in balance.
What do you propose?
The circular economy proposes a radical change in our production and consumption habits. To achieve this, it is necessary to recognize the “value” of the waste and residues we generate, which can be reused and recycled. But it not only proposes reuse and recycling, but also the reduction and repair as responsible forms of consumption. With proper awareness, we can achieve a greater commitment of the inhabitants of the planet, that is, of ourselves. But how to achieve it with companies? The circular economy also represents a profit for companies, well reduces the cost of purchasing new raw materials.
And is that the extraction of natural resources can lead the planet to a situation as much or more review than the production of waste and waste. To continue with the current patterns of production and consumption, in a population in constant increase, in a few years we will need three times more natural resources. The problem is that we only have a planet … and it’s finite!
How to do it?
As we have already pointed out, following the cyclical model that occurs in nature. The first step, reduce. Reduce production to a minimum that consumption demands. Y also reduce consumption of non-essential products. Is the product required? The second step is re-use. An example can be the rental of goods and services, which are returned to be reused by another person who also needs it.
What if the product has reached its useful life? Recycle, take advantage of all those components that are not biodegradable for the manufacture of new products. But there is also another type of waste that can be transformed: solid organic waste, which can represent 50% of all solid waste. These could be transformed and generate new markets -Fertilizer, livestock feed- and, collaterally, generate new jobs.
With so many benefits, where are the obstacles?
Especially in less developed countries, problems arise from existing laws. In many of these countries, waste organic matter is classified as garbage and therefore cannot be sold. However, in this sense, the UN Environment Office works to carry out studies that allow the implementation of the circular economy. The UN proposes to deepen in the following areas:
- Greater knowledge life cycle of products in order to optimize production cycles.
- This knowledge would allow define regulations more appropriate to the duration of the products.
- Flow measurement of materials, which allows the crossing of inputs so that one process can use the waste of others.
- Review regulatory frameworks to properly classify garbage and separate waste that is reusable.
- Invest in innovation and technology for the development of efficient productive infrastructures and generate incentives for the green economy.
What we win?
The change in consciousness that is generated takes us from being consumers to being true citizens, responsible for our environmental well-being. To do this, we must start by changing our consumption patterns. begin to buy only what we will need or use. Try repair before pulling and buy something new. And it can all start simply with the separation of waste at home. Take responsibility for the consequences that all our actions have. Recognize that a product has not only economic value, but also social and environmental value.
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The circular economy in Europe
Europe 2020 strategy
Is the growth and employment agenda drawn up by the European Union for the decade ending in the 2020. With her, he has sought overcome structural deficiencies in the economy of this region through a sustainable and inclusive growth. Another of its important bases has been the strengthening the social economy through a sustainable market. The general objective is separated into national goals, but the final achievement will be achieved combining national and European measures.
Among its key points, the sustainable growth through the use of the green economy, a growth given by a more effective management of resources. For that, it has developed an initiative at the European level and at the different nations.
The circular economy in Spain
Data provided by the environmental organization that coordinates packaging recycling in Spain indicates that 1,453,123 tons of packaging have been recycled. But efforts are also made for the ecological design of more sustainable packaging or its non-use, if it is not necessary.
In addition, TheCircularLab, the first European innovation center in the matter. At its headquarters located in Logroño, packaging improvement studies, of its recycling process, as well as developments that facilitate recycling at home. To all this is added the development of digital platforms, based on artificial intelligence, to improve all stages of the green economic circle.