Plastics are high-performing, multi-application materials that have become an iconic feature of the modern industrial economy – for better, and worse. A symbol of rising living standards and domestic bliss in the 1950s, the material has gradually attracted more criticism as volumes rose and problematic waste ensued. The big question
The foundation of a prosperous global economy is an energy system that is reliable, resilient and accessible. Today, more than two billion people living without secure access to power, while increasing urbanisation, extreme weather events place current infrastructures under increasing strain.
Much of the discussion at this week’s COP21 summit in Paris will focus on the important topics of renewable energy development, energy efficiency, carbon pricing and the reduction of fossil fuel subsidies. What currently might be under-represented is the circular economy framework, which should be central to the debate given
While the transition to a circular economy is underway, the recovery of metals and minerals from existing and future ‘above-ground’ resources or waste materials forms a key part of the economic opportunity presented in this new framework.
Ask people about environment and economy, and many feel the two are opposites. So compromise is necessary: ‘It’d be nice to have both, but…’ It’s no surprise. The last generation lived through times when the environmental movement pointed at the problem with a familiar graphic (but no solution): a set
In the 21st century, product and material choices hold greater importance than ever before. There is an informed and growing awareness of the problems faced by a finite supply of resources, including wood, metals and petroleum-based plastics. Furthermore, significant health concerns are being recognised related to toxic additives and VOC’s
Germany is a net waste importer. And the country has not created new landfills for the past decade. The European Environment Agency has praised Germany in particular for its municipal waste recycling. But while everyone agrees that German waste management is better than landfills, it is not always circular. Instead
Developing countries have not benefited from the linear economy; the economy in which goods are manufactured from raw materials, sold, used, and then discarded as waste. They have poor access to cheap goods to improve the quality of life of their populations. They do not take advantage from the extraction
In wastewater treatment plants in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark, something unusual has been, and continues to happen. Anoxkaldnes, a subsidiary of Veolia, is running pilot prototyping for the production and recovery of Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) – an intermediate material used to produce bioplastics.
Real economics is the study of how people transform nature to meet their needs…Neoclassical economics is inconsistent with the laws of thermodynamics. Charles Hall, SUNY, an ecologist by training. It’s not news of course. Frederick Soddy, another outsider (an escapee from physics and chemistry and a Nobel Prize winner) spent