How can we create a truly circular economy?
Waste does not exist in nature. Every single substance is recycled. Energy from sunlight is converted into chemicals that in turn deliver the energy needed by nature for growth and development. The economy can learn a great deal from ecology in this regard.
We will need to carry out a vast amount of research if we are to transform our linear society into an economy based on closed-loop recycling and waste utilisation – a circular economy.
Looking beyond the current take-make-waste extractive industrial model, a circular economy aims to redefine growth, focusing on positive society-wide benefits. It entails gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources, and designing waste out of the system. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural, and social capital.
Research is needed into processes, e.g. new methods, tendering procedures, materials logistics, new value chains and business models based on life cycle cost estimation, or building with nature. Besides that, research should, for example, also investigate the use of robotics and automation or alternatives to scarce raw materials.
The main goal to this challenge is to investigate how we can make a truly circular economy.