Circulate on Fridays: Access over ownership, half of all U.S. food wasted and more…

Every Friday, Circulate rounds up a collection of interesting circular economy related stories and articles. Today, we’re reflecting on the rising numbers of jobs in the solar energy industry, an article that argues that in the future we will own nothing, but have access to everything and the potential for driverless cars to be a better fuel efficient and emissions options.

A future where we own nothing but have access to everything

BoingBoing has published a fascinating excerpt from Kevin Kelly’s latest book, The Inevitable, where he imagines a future where people own nothing, but have access to everything. In the extract, Kelly writes about a hypothetical future, it’s an intriguing read, here’s a quick taster here:

“I subscribe to several food lines. I get fresh produce directly from a farmer nearby, and a line of hot ready-to-eat meals at the door. The Node knows my schedule, my location on my commute, my preferences, so it’s really accurate in timing the delivery. When I want to cook myself, I can get any ingredient or special dish I need. My complex has an arrangement so all the ongoing food and cleaning replenishables appear a day before they are needed in the refrig or cupboard.”

Half of all food wasted in the U.S.

There are many well-known statistics about the quantity of food that is wasted annually. New research, covered in the Guardian, argues that the most common figure, one third of all food, undersells the problem after interviewers with farmers, packers, wholesalers, food academics and others revealed that, “waste that occurs “upstream”: scarred vegetables regularly abandoned in the field to save the expense and labour involved in harvest. Or left to rot in a warehouse because of minor blemishes that do not necessarily affect freshness or quality.” When added to existing waste, it takes the total food wasted up to nearly 50% of all food produced in the U.S.

Job growth in solar industry

Renewable energy continues to go from strength-to-strength in terms of increasing energy share and technological advancement. That is also being reflected in the jobs market, where in the U.S. alone, a further 30,000 jobs are expected to be added in the solar industry in 2016. The job increase comes as labour is being reduced in the coal sector with some reports suggesting that many workers are making a direct transition.

Electric, driverless cars make sense economically and environmentally

Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, California, argue that in a scenario where a fleet of autonomous electric taxis replaced everyone’s personal gas-powered vehicles, greenhouse gas emissions could be decreased by over 90%, as well as saving households significant money. An article covering the findings of the research in Popular Science, describes how researchers were also surprised by just how efficient the system actually was, with a fleet only 15% the size of all private cars potentially serving the same size population. The business model works as well, where even estimating an electric, driverless cars costing more than $100,000, a car that drives 24/7, requiring no fuel and no salary could pay for itself within five years.

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The Author

Seb Egerton-Read

Seb Egerton-Read

Seb writes daily content for Circulate across the full spectrum of the website's topics. Previously he has spent five years as a freelance writer for a number of websites and blogs. You can e-mail Seb at seb[at]