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Design for Recycling: Towards a Circular Economy

Philip Brandecker, Referee CEO, Veolia Umweltservice GmbH
Ideas Fair

 

Philip Brandecker
The concept of the “Circular Economy”—in contrast to our current “Linear Economy”—is a compelling idea that follows a biomimetic approach: Any product consists of either technical or biological nutrients which are fed back into a closed loop after the product life. Eventually “waste” does not longer exist. However a look on our daily-life products should make us wonder if we are moving into the right direction: Shortening product life cycles, increasing complexity in product design, the expanding number of metals used for industrial production and the development of high-tech composite materials are just some examples, that raise the costs for an effective recycling solution and sometimes even render it completely impossible. I would like to point out that easy to implement measures exist to significantly increase the recyclability of a product. Besides the related ecological advantages for all of us, tangible economic benefits are possible for all stakeholders involved. Prospects of success are promising if we can establish a network that involves relevant decision-makers from all areas to foster the dialogue, share the know-how needed and work on feasible and pragmatic solutions.

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