World annual resource use passes 100bn tonnes

The global economy is now consuming over 100 billion tonnes of materials a year for the first time ever, with only 8.6 per cent being reused - sparking concern from experts.

Posted on 26 February 2020

The global economy is now consuming over 100 billion tonnes of materials a year for the first time ever, with only 8.6 per cent being reused - sparking concern from experts.

The Circularity Gap Report 2020, shows that the proportion of materials being reused worldwide is actually down from 9 per cent last year.

The total amount of resources entering the global economy has nearly quadrupled in the last 50 years, and has increased by 8.4 per cent between 2015 and 2017 - the latest year where there is available data.

The finding means the rollout of circular economy strategies in business are more important than ever, said Harald Friedl, chief executive of Circle Economy, which produced the report. “We risk global disaster if we continue to treat the world’s resources as limited,” he warned.

‘Business as usual is dead’

According to the report, businesses in developed countries should prioritise shifting to smarter consumption by leading the way on circular design; extending product lifetimes; using fewer materials in production; and shifting from ownership of goods to sharing and service-based business models.

Peter Bakker, chief executive at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, commented: “Business as usual is dead. We must commit to taking action at scale to make the circular economy reality. Measuring our individual and collective performance in the circular economy is fundamental in knowing whether we’re decoupling resource consumption and financial performance at the rate which our planet is demanding of us.”

Earlier this year, the circular economy focused Ellen MacArthur Foundation launched Circulytics - a tool that can be used by any company to measure the ‘circularity’ of their operations.

 

 

Posted under General Interest, Material and Packaging Efficiency and Waste Management on 26 February 2020