What changes worldwide could have the biggest impact on the circular economy? Read our selection for you for September 2020 here.
Denmark has announced plans to decrease its waste incineration capacities by 30% over the next decade. The new plan hopes to bring capacities into harmony with the amount of household waste produced in the country which has considerably reduced in recent years.
At present, Denmark’s 23 waste incineration plants can process around 3.5 million tonnes of waste per year. According to the Danish Environment Ministry, these centres are as much as 700,000 tonnes under capacity, requiring the import of waste to reach capacity.
By 2030, waste incineration capacities will be reduced to 2.6 million tonnes per year. The Danish government’s plans include retiring the least environmentally friendly and efficient plants first.
The government will, however, ensure that even distribution of waste among plants is maintained, and plants will not be retired if acceptable alternative heat generation sources are not yet in place.
The UK government has announced that it will transpose certain European provisions on municipal waste into national law – regardless of the outcome of the ongoing Brexit negotiations.
These provisions, which are part of the European Union’s Circular Economy Package adopted in 2018, include a 65% recycling target for municipal waste by 2035, as well as a target for limiting landfill of this waste to 10% by 2035.
The UK lags behind many other western European countries with regards to recycling and is set to miss its 2020 target of 50%.
Rebecca Pow, the UK’s Environment Minister explained the overall reasoning for the new targets: “We are committed to increasing our recycling rates and reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfill to create a cleaner waste industry and reduce carbon emissions.”
The new targets will hopefully help to boost recycling and ensure a more circular economy in the UK.
A new study jointly released by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the company SYSTEMIQ highlights the urgent need for a transition to a circular economy for plastics. The study “Breaking the Plastic Wave” points out that the increase in plastic pollution is currently outpacing the efforts to stop it.
The study presents several alarming scenarios that could play out if action is not taken. By 2040, for example, the volume of plastic on the market could double, the amount of plastic entering the oceans each year could triple, and the amount of plastic waste in the ocean could quadruple.
The authors also provide strategies to tackle the problem, by setting up systems that reduce and produce less plastic waste. The three main pillars of these strategies are eliminate, circulate and innovate.
The report recommends that plastic should be replaced by other materials where possible. If the plastic cannot be eliminated, then it should be designed to be reused or recycled. And a renewed focus should be placed on innovating not only in terms of physical products, but also business models and collection systems.
Read the full study here.