What changes worldwide could have the biggest impact on the circular economy? Read our selection for you for August 2020 here.
CEFLEX, the Circular Economy for Flexible Packaging initiative, has announced a new set of guidelines to help those working in the flexible packaging value chain to design recyclable packaging solutions. The guidelines are meant to help all those throughout the value chain, from manufacturers to retailers, and were developed based on ideas shared in the value chain, as well as data collected from testing and commercial practices.
The new initiative aims to harmonize and accelerate progress and has included consultation as well as active involvement from multiple organizations. The guidelines focus on polyolefin-based flexible packaging and offers practical advice on how to design these packaging solutions to make them more recyclable. Most notably, the initiative sets specific limits on materials and elements to ensure maximum sortability and recyclability.
Read the design guidelines here.
The UN’s Global E-Waste Monitor report has uncovered that at least $10 billion of precious metals are dumped every year, at a considerable cost to both the natural world as well as human health. Among the valuable metals being thrown away with e-waste are gold, platinum, silver and copper.
Last year saw a record 54 million tonnes of e-waste generated worldwide, a figure that has gone up 21% in only five years. Even more jarring, the amount of e-waste produced is going up three times faster than the global population, and a 17% recycling rate shows we are currently ill equipped to handle these rising volumes.
The growing e-waste problem is largely concentrated in high earning nations, such as those in Northern Europe, North America, and Australia, although Europe – thanks to the WEEE Directive – has a substantially higher rate of recycling than other regions.
While the issue is currently worsening, and at an alarming rate, the UN report also outlined the opportunity for a new economy, and the creation of new jobs if suitable collection and recycling programs are put in place. The report explains that the priority must be a renewed emphasis on designing products to last, and including repairability as a key feature of electronic goods.
Read the full report here.
A European Environmental Agency (EEA) briefing has pointed out the potential for a significant increase in recycling across Europe, especially for municipal, construction, and electronic waste. The new briefing calls for a doubling of municipal and electronic waste recycling, and a 30% increase in the construction and demolition sectors.
Europe has recorded a steady increase in recycling rates across all sectors in recent years, fueled by EU directives such as the Waste Framework Directive and the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive. These directives have aimed for a gradual but steady increase in recycling rates across the bloc, ensuring that as more waste is generated, so too does the rate at which it is recycled.
Read the briefing here.