Clean Tech

Clean Facts

Our Bureau | Updated on: Jun 23, 2022

HYDERABAD-07/07/2009:..Technicians dismantle electronic Waste (e-Waste) from obsolete, broken and discarded electronic devices such as computer peripherals, monitors CPUs servers ,telephone set, at Hyderabad’s first full-fledged safe disposal facility at Earth Sense Recycle unit in Mankhal Industrial Park in Ranga Reddy district of Andhra Pradesh. The workers handle 3 tons of segregated e-article daily before sending it to plastic recycle unit. Constant technological up-gradations and arrival of newer models has resulted in a sharp rise to an estimated nearly 20 lakh tons e waste accumulating each year in the country .. -Photo:Mohammed_Yousuf | Photo Credit: Mohammed_Yousuf

About Circular Economy

The circular economy model offers a pathway towards achieving collective climate goals and tackling greenhouse gas emissions tied to the extraction, processing, manufacturing and landfilling of goods. Research shows the transition to renewable energy can only address 55 per cent of emissions. The remaining 45 per cent coming from producing cars, clothes, food and everyday products need to be tackled.

Today, we are using about 1.6 earths; meaning we’re using about 60 per cent more of the earth’s resources than it can regenerate every year. By 2050, this “overshoot” could get to 3-4 earths because of increase in population and consumption. That clearly would be unsustainable.

The world produces over 2 billion tonnes of solid waste, and that’s expected to grow to 3.4 billion tonnes by 2050. Presently, one-third of that waste is not managed properly. By volume, global waste includes 44 per cent food and organics, 17 per cent paper and 12 per cent plastic.

A circular economy eliminates the concept of waste altogether, moving us into a more closed-loop system where materials and products are kept in use as long as possible. In doing so, the circular economy tackles some of our greatest social and environmental challenges while unlocking $4.5 trillion in economic value by 2030.

We are throwing away over 50 million tonnes of electronic and electric goods, worth over $62 billion every year, including rare earth minerals, gold and copper. In clothing we will be discarding 148 million tonnes each year by 2030. The value at stake by adopting circular fashion solutions is $500 billion, keeping valuable materials out of landfills and reducing our reliance on virgin commodities.

Analysis by McKinsey estimates shifting towards circularity could add $1 trillion to the global economy by 2025 and create one lakh new jobs in the next five years. While the circular economy also relies on the involvement of SMEs, awareness among them is very low. A recent survey of nearly 300 small businesses across England, France and Belgium found almost 50 per cent had not heard of the concept. In India too, it is at a nascent stage.

Making the transition to a circular economy will be complex as it requires systems-level redesign and a pressing need for new skills. We will have to think of new processes and solutions for the optimisation of resources. The idea is to transform the economy into a regenerative one.

Published on June 26, 2022
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