Traditional consumer culture involves a significant amount of making, selling, buying, consuming and discarding. Countries and businesses across the globe have started to reject this throw-away culture in favour of a circular economy.
Why it’s important
Much of what we consume ends up in landfills and in our oceans. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is now estimated to cover an area of over 1 million square kilometres. The way we are depleting our finite natural resources is unsustainable.
Moving towards a circular economy involves finding a way to ensure the things we buy and sell can be reused over and over again. This goes far beyond mere recycling. The aim of the circular economy is ultimately to eliminate all waste and pollution to create an entirely sustainable way of living.
Besides being able to reduce pollution and protect the environment, the circular economy also has significant economic benefits. More aggressive international-scale recycling and repurposing programmes stand to create much needed jobs and this approach will also result in cost savings. It is estimated that the proposed Circular Economy Package by the European Commission, which aims to reduce or eliminate waste throughout every aspect of the production-consumption cycle, will save European countries €600-billion a year; thanks primarily to reduced energy and waste-processing costs.
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