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Circulate on Fridays: chemists are key to circular economy and much more

Welcome to Circulate on Fridays, your weekly dose of circular economy news. No more FOMO – read on to catch up…

This week’s must-read piece comes courtesy of Roland Clift of the University of Surrey. Clift argues that ‘chemists — not just economists — are key to a circular future’, and addresses thermodynamics – something of a hurdle for some would-be circular economy supporters:

Although some advocates of the circular economy still interpret it as simply increasing recycling rates, it is clear to anyone with a chemical engineering background that the key to resource efficiency is to get best value from materials and products in use — the stock — and reduce their flow through the economy. The most important change is therefore to increase the service life of goods in use — what we chemical engineers term the “residence time.”

Scotland’s ‘Revolve’ standard has now been rolled out to 100 stores across the country, helping to increase trust and reliability in the re-use market. The programme began in 2011 with an externally-validated tool for Scottish re-use businesses to increase footfall in stores and the purchasing of re-use goods. Formalising these activities is part of a mission to boost confidence and enable these businesses to compete for bigger contracts through the provision of previously-owned products.

This week the London Waste and Recycling Board has launched its route map outlining how London will make the transformation to a circular city. Analysis so far has found that through 100 practical actions across built environment, food, plastics, textiles and electrical sectors, by 2036 the circular economy offer London benefits to the tune of £7bn every year, as well as 12,000 net new jobs in the areas of re-use, remanufacturing and materials innovation. Find out why the circular economy has become such a priority for London in our feature from earlier this year.

The rapid growth of bike sharing schemes in China continues to reveal the nuances and pitfalls of new business models. Chongqing-based Wukong Bikes went bust this week, due to 90% of their bikes being stolen or misplaced in just five months. Others won’t be put off though, and larger player Mobike claims to have systems in place to prevent abuse of the system, as highlighted in Founder Joe Xia’s OZY profile from today. It’s clear that experimentation in this space is rapid and messy, with startups and entrepreneurs testing the limits of what’s possible when reinventing mobility.

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The Author

Joe Iles

Joe Iles

I'm Editor in Chief of Circulate and Digital Architect at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

When I'm not discussing the circular economy, I also love talking about digital media and online trends, memes, music, bad films and good beer.

You can find me on twitter @joeiles or email joe[at]circulatenews.org

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