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Circular economy about much more than reusable coffee cups

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Shift to circular model would mitigate flaws of linear production economy

An obsolete printed circuit board being sorted at a recycling plant. Photograph: Enrique Marcarian/Reuters

Earlier this summer the Cabinet approved the Circular Economy Bill. The headline that caught most people’s attention was the potential rise in the price of a takeaway coffee to discourage and prevent unnecessary waste from cups, compostable, recyclable or not.

The circular economy is a complex ambition that goes far beyond single-use coffee cups.

It is not a new idea. As far back as 2008 it was identified by the European Commission as a solution to the problems created by climate change. Its influence is evident in policies such as the European Union Waste Framework Directive and the moves towards ending landfill.

The circular economy is best understood as a way to mitigate the flaws in the linear economic model that has been dominant since the postwar period; driven by easy credit and global access to resources including relatively cheap fossil fuels. It is a conveyor belt: make, use and dispose.The circular economy mitigates the negative consequences of this model including: climate change, competition for scarce resource security and an economic system plagued by boom or bust.The […]

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