A new research hub led by the University of Exeter will spearhead national efforts to create a sustainable, circular economy where fewer resources are used and more waste materials reused – delivering huge benefits to the environment and UK economy. The National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Hub is supported with £3.5 million from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). It will work with the five circular economy centres that were recently announced to explore how reusing waste materials in a wide range of industries, including textiles, construction, chemical and metals, could boost the UK economy as well as deliver massive environmental benefits. The circular economy hub will provide national leadership to facilitate the exchange of knowledge across the five centres and with the UK’s wider research and innovation landscape.
As the European Union seeks to transition to a ‘circular economy’, the policy focus in 2021 will turn to products: how they are designed, and why so many seem to be made to throw away. The European Commission wants to transform the way we produce and consume products. And when an initial strategy to do so wasn’t delivering as much as hoped, the EU executive gave it another shot earlier this year. The ‘Circular Economy action plan 2.0’, unveiled in March, is a renewed attempt to change the way we produce, use and dispose of goods. Like its predecessor launched five years ago, it doesn’t contain hard legislation yet but instead sets a series of goals, like halving municipal waste by 2030, some of which will be translated later on in hard legal requirements. Main ideas include giving consumers a new “right to repair” for computers and smartphones, establishing green criteria for construction products, updating existing resource use indicators, and planning a Sustainable Product Policy Framework.
A rapidly-growing recycling business in Hull has partnered with Hiab, the heavy-load handling equipment experts, to help drive forward its ambitious expansion plans. S&J Synergy delivers a total waste management service for manufacturers in food, wood, glass and plastic before supplying recycled materials back to businesses to reduce landfill. After recently winning two new contracts, S&J Synergy has invested in a new MULTILIFT ULTIMA 24S to manage its increasing workload across the Yorkshire region, expanding its fleet vehicles to 15. The family-run business has eight vehicles installed with Hiab’s cranes and lifting systems, which are vital in helping more businesses be sustainable through recycling and reusing materials. Jill Gibson, managing director for S&J Synergy said: “At the core of our business we collect waste material and process it in our own material recycling facility so it can become a new product.
Leaders of the Collaborative Leadership Initiative (CLI) continue to pursue matters of protecting water, reducing waste and creating good jobs in an online conference, ‘Building Strong Communities: A Circular Approach.’ CLI joins 12 Chiefs, 18 mayors and reeves from Southern Manitoba to work on issues surrounding water protection, waste management, economic development and the exploration of a circular economy in Manitoba. These leaders believe that all governments, municipalities, businesses and non-profits must work collaboratively to create a circular economy to improve the planet’s health.
Rapidly increasing solar photovoltaic (PV) installations has led to environmental and supply chains concerns. The United States relies on imports of raw materials for solar module manufacturing and imports of PV cells and modules to meet domestic demand. As PV demand increases, so will the need to mine valuable materials—a motivation for domestic reuse and recycling. Moreover, decommissioned PV modules could total 1 million tons of waste in the United States by 2030, or 1% of the world’s e-waste. This presents not only waste management concerns but also opportunities for materials recovery and secondary markets.
The president of Portugal’s tanning industry association, APIC, Nuno Carvalho, has said a strategic plan the organisation is currently working to emphasises leather’s place in the circular economy that governments, companies and consumers insist they want to move to, reports Leatherbiz. In a recent interview with the national newspaper Diário de Notícias, Mr Carvalho said: “The circular economy is ever-present in this sector and this is an idea we reinforce in the ongoing strategic plan that APIC has in place at the moment. The tanning industry and leather are intrinsically circular.” Asked for examples, he said the tanning cluster at Alcanena in central Portugal had developed a project to convert waste from leather production into electricity. He said this could have generated enough electricity to make the cluster’s common effluent treatment plant self-sufficient in terms of energy supply. However, the local authorities opposed the plan. Now, he said, APIC is moving forward with a proposal to use tanning waste in fertiliser production.