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Symposium 2015

Re-assessing Waste Management and the Circular Economy

The Challenge

Environmental degradation and resource depletion threaten the sustainability of economic growth in the developed world, and build enormous pressures in the developing world as it strives to match the West’s prodigal lifestyle. Both issues can be addressed by the Circular Economy (CE): if we stop generating waste, and re-use and recycle resources, we avoid environmental degradation and stave off resource depletion. But, the financial realities of (mostly) capitalist societies make so many recycling initiatives unattractive.

The view from outer space tells a different story, of course. Spaceship Earth may be a hackneyed metaphor, but the incontrovertible truth is that we have finite resources and a finite capacity to absorb and remediate waste, and at some point cost will become irrelevant (what would you pay for water in the desert?). The challenge is in how to drive circular economies when everyday, short-term, parochial economics make it look unattractive.

Whose responsibility is it to drive circular economies? Will the EU's push to a “more aggressive” CE policy package have a significant effect? What should the role of government be? How do we get industry to put its weight behind CE?

This session is organized by REDISA. Please check out the tabs below for additional facts and information.

    Solutions

    Solution
    Symposium 2015

    Circular Economy: Moving from Why to How

    Circular Economy: Moving from Why to How

    Circular Economy: Moving from Why to How

    Solution
    Symposium 2015

    From Mass Production to Mass Customization: Rethinking Waste Management

    From Mass Production to Mass Customization: Rethinking Waste Management

    From Mass Production to Mass Customization: Rethinking Waste Management

    Solution
    Symposium 2015

    Accelerating the Circular Economy with Drivers of the Linear Economy

    Accelerating the Circular Economy with Drivers of the Linear Economy

    Accelerating the Circular Economy with Drivers of the Linear Economy

    Solution
    Symposium 2015

    Pay all the costs, get all the benefits: Why industry should own their products for good

    Pay all the costs, get all the benefits: Why industry should own their products for good

    Pay all the costs, get all the benefits: Why industry should own their products for good

    Solution
    Symposium 2015

    Strengthen Circular Economy Package with Economic Incentives

    Strengthen Circular Economy Package with Economic Incentives

    Strengthen Circular Economy Package with Economic Incentives

    Background Paper

    Background Paper
    Symposium 2015

    Re-assessing Waste Management and the Circular Economy

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society

    Virtual Library

    Virtual Library File
    Symposium 2015

    Growth Within: A Circular Economy Vision for a Competitive Europe

    Europe’s current linear growth model is highly dependent on finite resources, exposing it to resource volatility, limited gains in productivity, and huge loss of value through waste. This report by ...

    Europe’s current linear growth model is highly dependent on finite resources, exposing it to resource volatility, limited gains in productivity, and huge loss of value through waste.

    This report by McKinsey&Company suggests that adopting circular-economy principles, enabled by the technology revolution, would allow Europe to grow resource productivity by up to three percent annually, and generate a primary-resource benefit for Europe’s economies of as much as €0.6 trillion per year by 2030. Part of the success would be attributable to continuous improvements in resource productivity - a trend that has started to reduce Europe’s resource exposure.

    Virtual Library File
    Symposium 2015

    The Limited Earth Problem

    This research paper from the University of Cambridge discusses limits of non-renewable resources, planetary sinks (to absorb all forms of waste) and renewable resources. It explores impacts on GDP, an ...

    This research paper from the University of Cambridge discusses limits of non-renewable resources, planetary sinks (to absorb all forms of waste) and renewable resources. It explores impacts on GDP, and the effects of possible technological and economic policy changes.

    Virtual Library File
    Symposium 2015

    The Magic Washing Machine

    An informative (and entertaining) look at the impact of the growing middle-class population on the world's resources and energy demand, pivoting around the washing machine as a fundamental invention t ...

    An informative (and entertaining) look at the impact of the growing middle-class population on the world's resources and energy demand, pivoting around the washing machine as a fundamental invention that has changed lives, and stands for a symbol of what moving into the middle class means.

    Virtual Library File
    Symposium 2015

    Global Resource Depletion: Is Population the Problem?

    An analysis of resource depletion and the links between resource depletion, population, economic growth and economic models. One may agree or disagree with the authors' conclusion that "capitalism mus ...

    An analysis of resource depletion and the links between resource depletion, population, economic growth and economic models. One may agree or disagree with the authors' conclusion that "capitalism must go", but it would be hard to disagree that some change in our dominant economic model is needed.