Source: Green Alliance
Authors: Hannah Hislop and Julie Hill
Extract from Executive Summary
Green Alliance aims to promote the concept of the circular economy as a new approach to the use of all resources. We examine three crucial inputs to our society: metals, phosphorus and water. The way we use them provides ample demonstration of our overwhelmingly ‘linear’ economy, with its current problems and future risks.
This report makes the case for the more circular use of resources, as a way of avoiding at least some of the impacts of ever more extraction of natural resources, and to avoid the worst impacts of generating waste. We concentrate on the role of economic instruments in promoting a more circular economy, a concept which has influenced economic policy in both China and Japan and which is gaining traction in many other countries.
We examine the particular conditions for, and some of the inter-relationships between, the circulation of three major inputs to our modern economy: metals, phosphorus and water. Alongside means of generating energy, these resources are crucial to our future on this planet, yet their long term future is rarely fully and frankly examined.
Metals have been in the spotlight as part of the debate about ‘raw materials security’, but the emphasis has been on finding new sources and improving terms of trade with those nations where the resource is found. Instead, we advocate a major political push to promote the circulation of metals within the economy, rather than continuing to allow the loss of large amounts, whether dissipated in the environment or consigned to landfill.
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