The circular economy is a topic that is currently widely discussed in institutions, industry, and waste management companies across Europe. Such a system means that we should produce absolutely all items from recyclable materials that have broken for repair, and items that have ended their service need to be recycled into new ones. There are many skeptics who claim that the idea of a circular economy will never be fully succeed. Currently, only about 9 percent of resources are returned to the economic cycle. However, this will be the future and we can see it by the efforts of international companies to turn their production from a straight line (we take it, we produce it, we throw it) into a closed circle.
An analytical article was recently published on how realistic the idea of a circular economy really is. Its author Chris De Decker writes that our grandparents lived best on this principle: they used old clothes for cloths, built new buildings from old building materials, fed food waste to pigs or chickens. The only difference is that before the industrial revolution, all the raw materials used were of natural origin and composted or easily reused such as bricks or iron.
For example, when trying to create a recyclable smartphone because of the various chips built into it, electronics can only recycle a third of the materials it contains. We emphasize that such a part is recycled on a phone that is already produced with recycling in mind. When electronics are recycled, most resources are lost, and new materials need to be extracted.
Another major challenge for the circular economy is that the worldwide population needs about 3% more resources each year. This means that even if we recycle all our products 100%, it will not be enough to meet the growing needs of humanity. Also, for the idea of a circular economy to work, we should reduce consumption and produce less: everything is less cars, fewer electronic devices with chips, fewer buildings to build. Finished products should last longer. Why? After all, we supposed to use the old ones that have already been made, recycle them, and transform them into further successful ones. However, it is difficult for entrepreneurs to come up with such an idea.
Food and Cosmetics Manufacturers Focus on Packages
At the Davos Economic Forum, 11 companies pledged to change the packaging of their products into recyclable, compostable, or reusable by 2025. Several initiatives by other companies: Danone and the Evian Group, which produces a variety of yoghurts, yoghurt drinks, and drinking water, have committed to bottling only in recycled bottles. The company intends to change the technology and design of bottle production by 2025. Its representatives are convinced of the success of the packaging circular economy cycle and invite others to cooperate in this area. The Evian water bottle is already made from recyclable plastic.
Cosmetics manufacturer L’Oreal has committed to offering its customers cosmetic packaging that can be refilled, replaced, or at least recycled by 2025. It will also strive to make cosmetic products suitable for everyone and harmless. Manufacturers of Mars chocolate bars are investing in modern research, because the biggest problem they need to solve at the moment is to make the chocolate packaging completely recyclable.