Even in today’s advanced world people continue to use linear ways of production and consumption, even though those have long proven to be unsustainable. This is where the concept of circular economy comes in handy. More and more researchers and world leaders are starting to prop up this idea.
Circular economy is a system which would allow materials to be reusable and would eliminate garbage disposal upon the whole. In circular economy there are no landfills as all the trash is collected and reutilized for other purposes.
Currently most of the world operates on a linear model of production, usage and disposal. In circular economy resources do not lose their value after the first use. That value is maintained because new ways of applying the product are continuously found.
Circular economy can potentially help people get rid of the existing waste and stall its further accumulation. It will help not only the environment, but also humanity to survive as resources are not only valuable – most of them are extremely limited.
Here you will get acquainted with the basic notions of circular economy which should help you write a paper on it. If you are too busy to do it on your own, you can always buy our professional essay writing services which will craft an impeccable paper for you within the given timeframe.
Why Circular Economy?
Did you know that 50 % of people around the world reside in the cities? This figure is expected to grow by 20 % by 2050. More than 80 % of world’s GDP comes from the urban areas, so, it is no wonder that cities are often called the engines of economic growth.
However, this tremendous power goes in hand with huge responsibility. Unfortunately, not many cities have been able to handle it effectively. Landfill dumping is increasing, and resources are constantly being degenerated instead of being reused. Most waste is incinerated to produce more energy instead of being recycled and given another purpose. Of course, it is better to incinerate than to dump, but with the world population growing and resources depleting, this is no longer a viable option.
Moreover, burning waste if not regulated properly can cause the release of many dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere. Even if those are held back by advanced technology, there is still an issue of toxic ash which is the remainder of the whole process. You can process this ash and turn it into glass – which is what Japan does – but it is very expensive. Alternatively, you can store it in mines – this is what Germany does – but as you may suspect, this is not exactly the safest option.
People need to find better ways to generate energy and reuse their finite resources. However, in order for the efforts to be effective, all countries and individuals must collaborate. If people harvest rainwater, but companies continue expanding landfills, the environment will keep deteriorating. Just some 250 years ago there were no factories – just pure nature, which had no waste. This is because its waste is being processed by fungi and bacteria. People need to take nature’s example to save the planet. This is where circular economy can be useful.
Why People Are to Blame?
This is a very easy question to answer. It all started in the 18th century when Britain began industrializing with no regard to the surrounding world. Of course, technology at that time was not as progressive as today, so, businesses were still constrained by time and space. However, from 1900 to the early 2000s the extraction of resources increased 12 times. The easier it became to obtain them, the more efforts people put into their excavation.
Thanks to the advances in medicine and the overall increase in quality of life people started to live longer and stopped dying in infancy. The world population was growing rapidly which meant more food and housing was needed. So, where there is demand, there is supply. Companies were eager to offer their services, thus, expanding production and extracting even more resources. Often it was done with no regard to environmental safety and without any strict regulations.
Cities kept widening, and nowadays they are responsible for 70 % of CO2 emissions. It is true that they are also the biggest energy producers (2-3ds of the overall energy is generated in the cities), they are also the biggest pollutants. Because companies were competing, commodities were getting cheaper and cheaper, so that more and more people were able to afford them. Businesses cared about profit, while consumers tried to boost their income, but nobody showed any interest in sustainable development.
Main Principles of Circular Economy
It is critical to comprehend the main principles which underlie this concept. This way you will be able to have an informed opinion. By the way, with Greatpaper.co.uk you can get homework help which will earn you a top mark.
The first principle is value preservation. Basically, every product nowadays has a shelf life. Unfortunately, many companies artificially shorten the shelf life in order to sell more stuff to customers. This is done so that people are forced to go shopping again even if their products are secretly still good. Such practices should not be tolerated. Not only people, but also policy makers must become aware of these occurrences and do something about them.
Moreover, value can be preserved if the product is not just dumped or incinerated, but recycled and reused for other purposes. This can ensure that nothing goes to waste, and people get the most out of the finite resources they still have left.
The second principle is, of course, resource optimization. It is closely linked to the first principle; however, it focused on practical solutions to the existing issues. For instance, instead of deriving energy from waste incineration and fuel combustion, people need to shift their focus towards the renewable sources of energy. No matter how expensive, they are the ultimate future, as traditional resources will become depleted sooner or later.
The third principle is system effectiveness. Very often materials are not handled carefully and effectively. For instance, many people still spend tons of money on building brick houses which are not only costly, but also resource exacting. Instead they could turn to modular housing to avoid exorbitant costs and the futile waste of scanty materials. Companies in their turn must create waste collection and recycling systems which would enable them to reuse their own products for other goals.
The idea of circular economy sounds appealing, but it has its drawbacks. It is crucial to be aware of them so that its implementation is as smooth as possible.
First of all, circular economy panders to corporations. Basically, they will end up winning because they will be able to reuse their own products instead of producing new ones. Moreover, because they will play such a vital role in the preservation of the environment, they may use it as leverage to negotiate better deals with governmental agencies (like lower taxes). All these perks can make corporations more powerful than democratic institutions.
Secondly, it’s lack of awareness. It will be extremely hard to teach people to change their ways. Seriously, who would want to repair old shoes instead of buying new ones if they make enough money? Who would want to bother installing rainwater collecting systems instead of just relying on the old methods? And just imagine how mad people will get if the government tries to influence them to make their houses green or regularly sort out garbage like Germany does.
Finally, it is the infrastructure. 75 % of the required technology was not yet invented. So, humanity is not going to see the implementation of circular economy any time soon.