The next decade is going to be decisive in determining the future for our planet when it comes to climate and biodiversity. – Alok Sharma, British MP also the President of the 2021UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP26.
Hello friends, today I’m going to share with you a new term called circular economy which, got acquainted with a few days ago. For this, we must discuss linear economy first, which is currently practised by most of the countries of the world. In linear system industries take natural resources, produce things, sell, use and dump these in mostly non-biodegradable form into the ecosystem. This ‘throw-away culture ‘ results in overstuffed landfills and other byproducts like carbon dioxide and methane, the greenhouse gases behind global warming.
A circular economy cuts through this by reducing the use of no renewable natural resources, recycling and repurposing the commodities. The aim is to save the earth from more landfills and polluted ecosystems. The world economic forum stresses that a global circular economy can bring material cost savings of one trillion dollars annually by 2025. The need of the hour is adhering to utmost discipline and regulation in the production and consumption of goods, worldwide.
Its environmental gains are also huge – applying circular strategies to cement, aluminium, steel, plastics and food could eliminate up to 45% of the emissions now heating the earth. They are the chief toxic smoke guzzling, coal-fuelled industries.
An interesting example of circular strategy is a group in Bengaluru, which employ mostly rural craftswomen to upcycle and repurpose collected waste plastics, metal or denim into household accessories which are then sold online.
Julia Corwin, the geography teacher in the London School of Economics, says that her research indicates that in India mass collections of used electronics are repaired, refurbished and resold in bulks to other businesses. The used electronic economy redirects the ‘e- waste’ back into use by producing new products. For example, the used CRT computer monitors containing the most hazardous leaded glass are remanufactured into TVs, thus extending the life of these electronics which would otherwise be dumped into landfills and the subsequent danger of toxic lead leaching into the soil and adjoining water bodies.
In the circular economy the scrap dealers or ‘kabaddi walahs’ have a vital role to play. Yet they are often looked down upon by the society at large. The government and the common citizens must provide support and encouragement so that these fragmented, informal sectors and sometimes illegal too, could be turned into respected and organized sectors. They are indeed the vital medium to pursue a circular economy.
Friends to save humanity, biodiversity and the environment, we all have to be extremely alert while using consumer products. We must use them sensibly by minimising their wastage and then have to ensure that most of the waste generated in our households, restaurants, offices,etc end up being recycled or repurposed, instead of relegated to landfills.
Let’s move away from the blind and selfish consumerism and embrace minimalism for a better and safe future.
Stay safe and happy. Adieu for now.