Henk-Jan van Alphen by Henk-Jan van Alphen
25 September 2018

Circular economy isn’t a magical fix for our environmental woes

This article questions whether the circular economy is the right means for it's ultimate goal: solving our ecological crises. It argues that this is not the case as long it is championed by multi-national corporations. As with energy efficiency, the circularity may very well increase consumption and thereby off set its advantages. The authors are equally critical of the "sharing" and "service" economy, which also tend to increase corporate power significantly. To truly flourish, they argue, the circular economy needs to be part of a bigger effort to tackle economic growth, wasteful consumerism and undemocratic power structures in the global economy....

Circular economy isn't a magical fix for our environmental woes

        Solutions to our waste crisis must also tackle economic growth, wasteful consumerism and inequality. Photograph: Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images The circular economy’s June jamboree in Finland, attended by around 1,500 experts and policymakers, showed just how much momentum the concept has gained in recent years. Little wonder. The circular economy model – which aims to use closed-loop production to keep resources in play for as long as possible – is presented as a pragmatic, win-win solution; an almost magical fix for our environmental woes. As well as easing climate change, resource depletion and waste, its backers promise economic growth and job creation too. Big business can continue to flourish, buoyed by “new opportunities” and “expanding markets”. But this vision ignores the fact that on a finite planet endless economic growth is not an option. And it fails to see that solving our ecological crises means diluting the power of global corporations – not propping them up. Fruit and veg come in their own natural wrapping. Why do we smother them in plastic? Read more One of the tenets of the circular economy is the idea that closing material and product loops will prevent primary production. But recent research published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology concludes that circular economy...

  • theguardian.com
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