Environmental degradation and resource depletion threaten the sustainability of economic growth in the developed world, and build enormous pressures in the developing world as it strives to match the West’s prodigal lifestyle.
Both issues can be addressed by the Circular Economy (CE): if we stop generating waste, and re-use and recycle resources, we avoid environmental degradation and stave off resource depletion.
But, the financial realities of (mostly) capitalist societies make so many recycling initiatives unattractive. Especially when price signals tell a different story and the price for many resources declines.
The view from outer space tells a different story, of course. Spaceship Earth may be a hackneyed metaphor, but the incontrovertible truth is that we have finite resources and a finite capacity to absorb and remediate waste, and at some point cost will become irrelevant (what would you pay for water in the desert?).
The challenge is in how to drive circular economies when every day, short-term, parochial economics make it look unattractive.
Whose responsibility is it to drive circular economies? Will the EU’s push to a “more aggressive” Circular Economy policy package have a significant effect? What should the role of government be? How can we put a functioning Circular Economy into action? How to raise public awareness for the need of a Circular Economy? How to secure the industries’ support and the support of private households for Circular Economy?
The project groups of the Peter-Ustinov-Schule Eckernförde and the Richard-Hallmann-Schule Trappenkamp are working on the topic “A World without Waste: Putting the Circular Economy to Work.”. The project groups are supported by an expert team of the YES! 2016.