It plays a crucial role in the circular economy because it allows the recovery of valuable materials, that would otherwise be wasted. When we recycle, we are diverting value from landfills and putting it back into the economy, creating a sustainable source of raw materials. Recycling helps to conserve natural resources by reducing the need for new materials and lessen pollution.
Recycling is the last step before closing the loop. A circular economy is not just about collecting and processing waste by recycling it; it is also about designing products with the end of their lifecycle in mind. This means creating products that are easy to disassemble, repair and recycle, with materials that can be separated and reused. By designing products for circularity, we can reduce waste and ensure that valuable resources are not lost.
Many think that making recycled products requires significant resources, making waste processing unprofitable. Nothing could be further from the truth. Creating a warm fleece jacket only takes 35 plastic bottles, and processing 6 metal cans produces as much energy as burning 1 litre of fuel.
But how, exactly, can we all contribute? One perspective suggests that preserving the environment requires consumers and companies to exhibit restraint and take responsibility. This means being more efficient in using resources, recycling, and processing waste effectively, and reducing consumption. Another perspective is that environmental and other problems can always be resolved by exercising human creativity. In a sustainability-circular economy-oriented world, caring for the future of humanity is achieved when humanity itself tries to reduce the use of non-renewable resources, slows down, and conserve. Humanity should stop burning through existing natural resources and minimise its impact on the environment. It should change its habits to win a more significant fight—the fight for the planet and humanity.
Public awareness is the simplest, if not the frankest, tool in the box. For example, it can begin with getting people to separate their glass and paper waste. Once they are used to doing that, they can be asked to revise their purchasing habits to reduce the purchase of such products and select products that can be reused again. By embracing recycling and by applying the concepts of circular economy before having to recycle, we will then create a more sustainable future and build a more resilient economy that works for everyone.
Working together, citizens, companies, and governments can make great strides, and as it has been well said in the past, the Earth is a fine place and worth fighting for it. Investing in a more sustainable future is also a worthwhile investment but is also crucial in order to avoid what another say proposes: that we could be the generation that destroys our home (the planet), because we considered it expensive to invest in saving it!