Why There is a Need to Make the Circular Economy a Reality

The circular economy is an economic system and model of production and consumption of sharing, leasing, reusing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. This economic model has gained a lot of traction in recent years as governments, recycling activists and the waste management industry are heavily focused on creating policies and reports.

As the world’s population is growing rapidly, the demand for raw materials is also increasing. However, the supply of crucial raw materials is limited. Moreover, mining and using raw materials have a major impact on the environment and it increases energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Thus, there is a need for the smarter use of raw materials that can minimize CO2 emissions.

Need for a Circular Economy

The world today is running on take, make, and waste model that is impacting the entire Earth’s ecosystem. In the last 13 years, half of all the plastic that has ever been made was manufactured across the world, while less than 10 percent of them has ever been recycled, with most of it ending up in landfill or in the oceans, where it can last for centuries. Simultaneously, energy consumption is projected to grow by one-third in the next 20 years.

The dawn of the fourth industrial revolution, where the world is standing on the cusp of a new innovation age, also drives the need for a circular economy.

Thus, shifting towards a more circular economy is the only option to reduce pressure on the environment, enhance the security of the supply of raw materials, accelerate innovation, and boost overall economic growth.

The Approach Towards the Circular Economy

To make the step forward towards a circular economy, the World Economic Forum lead the way by introducing Scale 360 initiative. This is aimed at moving towards a more circular economy while making use of less natural resources and lessening pollution to tackle climate change.

The initiative also provides a model for a circular economy that implements the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with an aim to keep resources in use for as long as possible and take out the maximum value from them while in use. Then recover and redevelop products and material at the end of each service life. This innovative economic concept is intended to lower waste by designing recyclable and renewable goods to ensure their utilization. It will also ensure their usage even after the end of their shelf-life and accomplish an efficient use of natural resources.

The United Arab Emirates became the first signatory to the WEF’s Scale 360 initiative earlier this year. Several other countries have also proved themselves willing to commit to a sustainable future. Nations like Norway and Denmark have invested heavily in projects such as renewable energy, electric cars, and recycling in order to make a circular economy.

China also has moved towards the sustainable economy as its city Shenzhen has dedicated substantial resources to make use of electric vehicles for 100 percent of its public transport. With this move, the city is on the way to becoming the first major city in the world in this space.