As a conversation piece, the circular economy is on everyone’s lips. It’s not just a buzzword. With the global population predicted to approach 9 billion people by 2030, we are using more resources than the planet can provide. Our future depends on reusing what we have in a sustainable way. Not only are we using more resources, we are producing large amounts of waste, especially municipal solid waste (MSW) as more and more people move from rural areas to urban ones to primarily seek opportunities for economic development.
By 2050, the global municipal solid waste generation is estimated to rise to 3.4 billion tonnes per year, compared to the current 2.1 billion tonnes, according to data from the World Bank. This increasing amount of garbage and diminishing resources available at a global scale pose a challenge for European politicians, society and industry alike. The reduction of single use plastic, such as bags or straws, is in particular a major public concern.
An EU-funded project aims to develop and implement a circular economy approach for products and services which will get consumers more involved in design and production, supports sustainable consumption, increases recycling and reuse, and cuts waste.
The Start-ups Circularise, DOMO and Covestro have announced a new collaborative project for circularity in the plastics industry through the use of blockchain technology. The newly formed Circularise PLASTICS project group aims to set up an open standard for sustainability and transparency within this field. EIT RawMaterials supported Circularise protocol enables trusted data exchange in fragmented supply chains without public disclosure of datasets or supply chain partners. Unlike other blockchain transparency solutions, Circularise’s technology called ‘smart questioning’ protects a company’s privacy and sensitive information.
Biodegradable waste, or bio-waste, from urban areas is being used to produce a bio-based material to replace plastic — this is relevant to the sustainable development of a circular economy (CE), which requires the innovative use of waste materials. Understanding public attitudes to such materials, and the drivers influencing their uptake, is key to their viability. This study explores how consumers respond to products made from regenerated bio-waste.
The Council stresses in its conclusions that further ambitious efforts are needed to stimulate a systemic transition to a sustainable society. The circular economy is an important driver for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, respecting the planetary boundaries as well as reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The Council today adopted conclusions which offer political guidance for the EU’s environment and climate change policies for the period 2021 – 2030. It calls upon the Commission to present at the latest by early 2020 an ambitious and focused proposal for an 8th Environment Action Programme (EAP).