Circular Economy 101: Waste Not, Get More

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Circular Economy 101: Waste Not, Get More

by John Hoekstra, Director of Sustainability (Americas), Schneider Electric
Image Credit: Erlend Ekseth

Image Credit: Erlend Ekseth

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READ: @SchneiderESS's @hoekstraSustain discusses how the #circulareconomy contributes to #climateaction via @SustainBrands @SchneiderElec #SDGs #energy
Monday, March 5, 2018 - 7:45am

Across the globe, about 50 percent of CO2 emissions are tied to materials — goods that often produce a significant amount of physical and financial waste. The United Nations estimates that the 41.8 million tonnes (Mt) of electronic waste generated in 2014, for example, included 16 Mt of copper and 300 tonnes of gold, plus other precious metals such as palladium. This material had a combined value of $52 billion.

And the amount of e-waste is only growing; it is expected to reach 50 Mt in 2018.

The momentum gathering around the development of a circular economy, in which materials and products are viewed through a ‘cradle to cradle’ lens, could, however, help stem the tide of valuable resources ending up landfill. Not only does circular thinking reduce the consumption of resources such as raw materials, water and energy, but it also encourages industries to design with the entire lifecycle of a product in mind. One company’s waste is another’s raw material.

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Keywords: Supply Chain & the Circular Economy | Energy | Schneider Electric | Sustainable Development Goals | sustainable brands