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what is the circular economy?

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Re: what is the circular economy?

Unread postby Graeme » Mon 25 Aug 2014, 23:50:06

Towards the Circular Economy: Accelerating the scale-up across global supply chains

Ultimately the circular economy could decouple economic growth from resource consumption – truly a step-change.


This is the aim of a circular economy; we are not there yet.
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Re: what is the circular economy?

Unread postby Pops » Tue 26 Aug 2014, 08:34:42

americandream wrote:If by Karl you mean Marx, he wasn't fixated so much as he was analytical and on the mark as far as its (capitalism's) development goes. You cannot discuss capitalism with any real logic without drilling down to its fine details.

I think Marx had industrial capitalism nailed, post industrial (post-oil) maybe not so much. Even pre-peak, aren't/weren't most countries that went socialist/communist more peasant farmer than exploited industrial worker?

--
The real problem with a voluntary circular economy is one simple thing, cost. What is the common link between all disposable products?

Low cost.

But what is the one feature sought most by consumers?

Low cost.

And what is the most common feature among recyclable, organic and or longer lasting products?

Higher cost.

When long lasting, recycled/recyclable C2C products compete with FF'ed landfill bound shrink-wrapped trash in designer colors then the circular economy will be a reality.
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Re: what is the circular economy?

Unread postby ralfy » Tue 26 Aug 2014, 20:33:26

Graeme wrote:Towards the Circular Economy: Accelerating the scale-up across global supply chains

Ultimately the circular economy could decouple economic growth from resource consumption – truly a step-change.


This is the aim of a circular economy; we are not there yet.


Likely, we've been there for some time, as measurements for the global economy involve credit. But because the economy is ultimately based on energy and material resources, then consumption for both has to rise to give value to that credit.

Also, outside issues concerning economic growth, consumption has to rise in order to meet not only basic needs but even middle class conveniences envisioned in circular economies. The amount of energy and resources needed will very likely exceed the biocapacity of the planet.
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Re: what is the circular economy?

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 26 Aug 2014, 21:26:37

You're wasting your time criticizing the circular economy. Business executives are already aware of global "biocapacity" limits. The circular economy will address those issues mainly for the primary and secondary sectors of the economy. What you have left out are the tertiary and quaternary sectors which will continue to grow. The World Economic Forum has launched Project Mainstream.

Project MainStream is an initiative that was jointly launched by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, with support from McKinsey & Company.

Project MainStream aims to leverage a pre-competitive, cross-sector collaborative effort that addresses the enablers of the circular economy, ranging from pure material flows to policy enablement and technology. The project will develop business cases and deliver proof-of-concept for such flows, and be the cornerstone to influence the rest of the business community.

The project will develop programmes that address questions such as how to enable the circular flow of materials like polymers or paper, and how to improve the economics of remanufacturing.

After two years, the project team expects to have proof-of-concept based on the results of pilot projects. It believes that the success of these programmes will prompt other industry players to go circular as well.

The expected benefit of Project MainStream is huge, with the potential to deliver at least US$ 500 million in materials cost savings and 100,000 new jobs (e.g. reverse logistics and materials recycling), as well as to avoid 100,000 tons of materials waste within five years globally.
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Re: what is the circular economy?

Unread postby ralfy » Wed 27 Aug 2014, 23:31:59

Graeme wrote:You're wasting your time criticizing the circular economy. Business executives are already aware of global "biocapacity" limits. The circular economy will address those issues mainly for the primary and secondary sectors of the economy. What you have left out are the tertiary and quaternary sectors which will continue to grow. The World Economic Forum has launched Project Mainstream.

Project MainStream is an initiative that was jointly launched by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, with support from McKinsey & Company.

Project MainStream aims to leverage a pre-competitive, cross-sector collaborative effort that addresses the enablers of the circular economy, ranging from pure material flows to policy enablement and technology. The project will develop business cases and deliver proof-of-concept for such flows, and be the cornerstone to influence the rest of the business community.

The project will develop programmes that address questions such as how to enable the circular flow of materials like polymers or paper, and how to improve the economics of remanufacturing.

After two years, the project team expects to have proof-of-concept based on the results of pilot projects. It believes that the success of these programmes will prompt other industry players to go circular as well.

The expected benefit of Project MainStream is huge, with the potential to deliver at least US$ 500 million in materials cost savings and 100,000 new jobs (e.g. reverse logistics and materials recycling), as well as to avoid 100,000 tons of materials waste within five years globally.


Given a credit market with a notional value that's many times greater than that of the global economy, I doubt it.
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Re: what is the circular economy?

Unread postby Pops » Thu 28 Aug 2014, 07:19:21

Graeme wrote:You're wasting your time criticizing the circular economy.

You mean you'll just keep posting endless articles regardless?

LOL

I think you don't get the basic truth, which is people will do mostly what is in their best interest. Of course folks will help out a neighbor or fellow churchgoer and if the government forces them they'll obey whatever law comes along but overall they do what is best for themselves.

The reason we have a throwaway economy is because we want it! People will buy 2 cheap things instead of one good thing even if they only need the one, it is just our nature.

I think I said it before but I'll make the point again, "planned obsolescence" is just our rationalization for our own bad choices - "They" are getting us because the cheap crap we buy falls apart. Heaven forbid we take the rap for being cheap and buying bells and whistles and BOGO sales instead of rewarding manufacturers that build quality products and pay a good wage to their people.

But be optimistic, eventually there will be a sustainable, recycling, circular economy, I guarantee it - but I guarantee it won't be voluntary, LOL
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Re: what is the circular economy?

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 28 Aug 2014, 17:30:14

Raify, Rather than ploughing through all the literature on credit markets to discover what the situation is regarding global debt, I have chosen to refer you to this 2011 report by McKinsey. My understanding is that, although we do have debt especially in developed countries, the situation is not dire. It appears to me that the only way to pay back this debt is to grow the economy using all possible means including this new and developing system called the circular economy. You are now aware of Project Mainstream. I presume businesses involved will eventually inform others through the media what problems they have encountered (provided they are not secret) and share their solutions with others so they don't repeat the same mistakes.

Pops, How are we going to find these media articles? By looking for them and posting here. I believe that I post the most news articles on this site so that is probably the reason they seem to be "endless". I try to pick the best ones because there are thousands of them. I cannot keep up. I'm glad you think that there will be a sustainable, circular economy. Of course it won't be voluntary; it will be imposed initially in this instance by businesses trying to improve the bottom line. A byproduct will be a cleaner environment. Something to aim for, right?
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Re: what is the circular economy?

Unread postby ralfy » Fri 29 Aug 2014, 00:34:07

Graeme wrote:Raify, Rather than ploughing through all the literature on credit markets to discover what the situation is regarding global debt, I have chosen to refer you to this 2011 report by McKinsey. My understanding is that, although we do have debt especially in developed countries, the situation is not dire. It appears to me that the only way to pay back this debt is to grow the economy using all possible means including this new and developing system called the circular economy. You are now aware of Project Mainstream. I presume businesses involved will eventually inform others through the media what problems they have encountered (provided they are not secret) and share their solutions with others so they don't repeat the same mistakes.

Pops, How are we going to find these media articles? By looking for them and posting here. I believe that I post the most news articles on this site so that is probably the reason they seem to be "endless". I try to pick the best ones because there are thousands of them. I cannot keep up. I'm glad you think that there will be a sustainable, circular economy. Of course it won't be voluntary; it will be imposed initially in this instance by businesses trying to improve the bottom line. A byproduct will be a cleaner environment. Something to aim for, right?


Ultimately, the only way for that economy to continue growing is to use more material resources and energy, including oil. There will be recycling, but additional resources will be needed to cover incredible levels of credit, ensure profit and returns on investment, and meet an expanding market for a growing global middle class.
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Re: what is the circular economy?

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 29 Aug 2014, 04:08:25

The challenge of closing materials loops and regenerating natural assets is an exponential function of product complexity and supply chain length. While more localized production is experiencing a robust renaissance in some economies, we cannot ignore nor fail to tap the power of global division of labour, specialization and economies of scale. This report sets out to emphasize that the circular economy must hold its promise not merely to the village economy, but also to a globalized economy of nine billion.It presents the concept of circularity as a tangible driver of industrial innovations and value creation for the 21st century global economy. In addition, it positions the concept for today’s global CEO as a practical business strategy to “hedge” against the complex and interconnected risks of resource competition, commodity price volatility, new materials technologies and changing consumer demands.


Analysing the most advanced business cases confirms that a supply chain management approach that balances the forward and reverse loops and ensures uniform materials quality is critical to maximizing resource productivity globally.


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Re: what is the circular economy?

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 04 Sep 2014, 16:15:54

99 Per Cent Of Sweden's Garbage Is Now Recycled (VIDEO)

At the core of Sweden’s program is its waste-management hierarchy designed to curb environmental harm: prevention (reduce), reuse, recycling, recycling alternatives (energy recovery via WTE plants), and lastly, disposal (landfill).

Before garbage can be trucked away to incinerator plants, trash is filtered by home and business owners; organic waste is separated, paper picked from recycling bins, and any objects that can be salvaged and reused pulled aside.

By Swedish law, producers are responsible for handling all costs related to collection and recycling or disposal of their products. If a beverage company sells bottles of pop at stores, the financial onus is on them to pay for bottle collection as well as related recycling or disposal costs.

Rules introduced in the 1990s incentivized companies to take a more proactive, eco-conscious role about what products they take to market. It was also a clever way to alleviate taxpayers of full waste management costs.

According to data collected from Swedish recycling company Returpack, Swedes collectively return 1.5 billion bottles and cans annually. What can't be reused or recycled usually heads to WTE incineration plants.


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Reaching for a circular economy

Our cover story profile for this issue focuses on Ciparo BV, based in Rotterdam, a recovered fibre and plastic scrap supplier and trading firm with offices in the Netherlands, Belgium, China and Vietnam. You can read all about this dynamic company in “Expanded Scope,” by Editor Brian Taylor, beginning on page 20.

An interesting theme reflected in Ciparo’s story and often shared by many other recyclers is the fact that the supply of recovered fibre throughout Europe and beyond continues to be strained.

The supply of plastic scrap also has been described as tight, at least regarding popular packaging grades such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polypropylene (PP).

With regard to paper, digitalisation has been blamed for the decreasing collections of old newspapers and sorted office paper from the commercial and residential sectors.

Even so, collection and recycling rates in the 28 European Union (EU) member states remain quite high. The European Recovered Paper Council reported in late June that despite decreasing paper consumption in Europe, the collection and recycling rate for paper was stable at 72%.

On the plastics side, recycling rates have struggled in some areas. Attesting to that observation, Herbert Snell, vice chair of the working group on HDPE and PP for Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE), has described the collection rate of HDPE and PP bottle fractions as “weak.”

However, developments on the horizon appear to hold promise for both paper and plastics recycling throughout the EU-28 in the near future. One is the European Commission’s recent adoption of a zero-waste programme, the Circular Economy Package. Now awaiting review by the European Parliament, the package hopes to stimulate the EU economy, boost recycling rates and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The proposal also calls for a ban on the landfill of recyclable materials by 2025.


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Re: what is the circular economy?

Unread postby Graeme » Mon 08 Sep 2014, 17:24:51

Life CycleAssessment the Next Step Towards a Circular Economy

A new education series aims to increase the industry’s understanding and implementation of life cycle assessment (LCA).

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has partnered with Edge Environment to provide specialised training on LCA, and the first of the series will commence on Thursday 25 September.

“The industry has come a long way in a decade – and we now have more than 750 Green Star rated projects around Australia to prove it,” says the GBCA’s Chief Executive, Romilly Madew.
“The next step is for us to assess the environmental impacts of our buildings – and the materials within them – throughout their entire life cycles.

“Leading manufacturers in our industry are beginning to think beyond the ‘take, make and dispose’ linear model and are embracing ‘cradle-to-cradle’ approaches.

“According to McKinsey, the world is wasting the equivalent of US$3 to US$4 billion in materials every day. Life cycle assessment is not a fad, and will increasingly be understood as a smart business decision within a sustainable business model,” Ms Madew says.

LCA has recently been integrated into Green Star rating tools with the introduction of the ‘Materials Life Cycle Impact’ Innovation Challenge and two LCA-based draft credits.


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Re: what is the circular economy?

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 10 Sep 2014, 19:55:15

Can China be a leader in the circular economy?

Manufacturers today are at a crossroads. One way is the business-as-usual approach based on the linear economy, in which goods are made to be used for a short time by consumers and then mostly dumped or incinerated. But with a growing world population and the emergence of billions of new consumers in the rising markets, most people realize this is not sustainable.

In addition, the linear system contributes to climate change and damages other ecosystems such as rivers. It also lacks a focus on excluding toxicity in products. A better system needs to be created and one avenue which is gaining ground is the circular economy, in which goods are designed to be remade in an ongoing non-toxic closed-loop system.

Asia is well aware of the need to change, not least because much of the world’s waste ends up in its backyard as well as in other emerging markets. As one writer put it recently in The Guardian newspaper:

“The developing world is becoming the West’s digital dumping ground. Every year around 50 million tonnes of unwanted electronic devices make their way to vast e-waste dumps in Guiyu in China and Agbogbloshie in Ghana – often illegally. Some of them will be repaired and resold. Others will be broken into their components, at considerable expense to the environment and people’s health, and sold as raw materials to manufacturers. Yet more will be left as piles of toxic litter.”

If this continues the problem will only get worse. The article continues: “In fact, only around 13% of the e-waste generated each year is recycled. The increasing amounts of digital tech brought by middle-class consumers in China, India and Africa is a growing part of the problem. If the trend continues, the annual amount of global e-waste will be 65 million tonnes by 2017.”

It is not just about designing products so that they can be returned, disassembled and recycled. It is about thinking about how to make a product good from the start, so that it has a positive impact on the environment and human health.

Cradle-to-cradle pioneers Dr Michael Braungart and William McDonough have inspired many businesses with their call for designing for “eco-effectiveness”, as described in their latest book, The Upcycle: “Human beings don’t have a pollution problem; they have a design problem. If humans were to devise products, tools, furniture, homes, factories and cities more intelligently from the start, they wouldn’t even need to think in terms of waste, or contamination, or scarcity. Good design would allow for abundance, endless reuse, and pleasure.”


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Re: what is the circular economy?

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 11 Sep 2014, 21:35:40

Industry Leaders Reveal Circular Economy “Must-Haves” In New Report

A new report focused on achieving a circular economy is published today by the RWM Ambassadors, a selection of leading industry figures from the business supply chain, retail and waste management industry, plus public sector and academic representatives.

The panel, together with the team from RWM, Europe’s premier event for resource management, has been discussing and identifying the key waste and resource efficiency issues and possible solutions.
Today’s report attempts to identify the key questions to provoke debate on the measures that will be needed to move the UK towards a circular economy.


ciwm

CIRCULAR ECONOMY CREATES JOBS AND CAN SAVE UP TO $1 TRILLION A YEAR

Conceptualized some 50 years ago, the idea of circular growth is finally becoming embedded in a number of companies and even in cities like Atlanta in the United States, participants at the eighth Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Tianjin, China, were told.

It works by decoupling growth and resource needs, and advocates a job-creating model where industrial systems are restorative by design. Products, components, untapped resources and materials are fed back into the appropriate value chains, while sustaining economic growth.

The concept is being applied in the Atlanta BeltLine, a $325 million privately funded project to revitalize a 22-mile historic rail corridor that circles the city. When completed, the facility will connect 43 neighbourhoods through pedestrian-friendly rail transit and multi-use trails, 1,300 acres of parks, 1,100 acres of cleaned up industrial land and affordable housing.

“Mayors have the gift of speed,” said Kasim Reed, Mayor of Atlanta, USA. “You can have mayors in cities to buy-in and execute in much faster fashion that any national government you can think of, except maybe for China.” If the Atlanta BeltLine is a success, it can be an example and an exemplar for other cities to emulate.


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Re: what is the circular economy?

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 12 Sep 2014, 20:23:06

Companies and cities adopting concept of circular economy

The idea of circular growth, conceptualized some 50 years ago, is becoming embedded in a number of companies and even in cities like Atlanta in the United States, participants at the eighth Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Tianjin, China, were told.

It works by decoupling growth and resource needs, and advocates a job-creating model where industrial systems are restorative by design. Products, components, untapped resources and materials are fed back into the appropriate value chains, while sustaining economic growth.

The concept is being applied in the Atlanta BeltLine, a $325 million privately funded project to revitalize a 22-mile historic rail corridor that circles the city. When completed, the facility will connect 43 neighbourhoods through pedestrian-friendly rail transit and multi-use trails, 1,300 acres of parks, 1,100 acres of cleaned up industrial land and affordable housing.

“Mayors have the gift of speed,” said Kasim Reed, Mayor of Atlanta, USA. “You can have mayors in cities to buy-in and execute in much faster fashion that any national government you can think of, except maybe for China.” If the Atlanta BeltLine is a success, it can be an example and an exemplar for other cities to emulate.

The Chinese government has actually embedded circular growth in its five-year plan, said Zhu Dajian, Professor and Director, Institute of Governance for Sustainability, Tongji University, People's Republic of China. But the projects are still more at the level of recycling waste and lean manufacturing, not at the higher level of rethinking business models to focus on delivering services rather than making products that eventually clog up landfills.


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Re: what is the circular economy?

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 16 Sep 2014, 18:43:10

ESA’s Biowaste Strategy To Help Move Sector Towards Circular Economy

The Environmental Services Association (ESA) is launching its first biowaste strategy, Circular Organics: Biowaste in a Circular Economy, at this years RWM in partnership with CIWM event today (16 September).

The main purposes of the strategy are:

to address the key challenges faced by the biowaste treatment sector,

set out the ESA’s vision for the way forward,

offer a set of concrete actions that ESA believe will move the sector closer to a Circular Economy.

Chairman of ESA’s Biotreatment Working Group, Stuart Hayward-Higham said: “ESA members are uniquely positioned to understand the biowaste collection and treatment market as their services extend across a wide vista of the sector. Taking that experience and knowledge, we have sought to provide insight into how we think biowaste and biotreatments fit within and complement the circular economy.


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Re: what is the circular economy?

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 19 Sep 2014, 19:01:22

The Circular Economy is Closer than you Think

The circular economy today is relatively omnipresent but people don’t relate to it as such. Take buying a product on eBay, where products get reused for a second or third time. Or how about renting a car or staying in an apartment for a holiday.

Anything rental has always been part of the circular economy, but people don’t realise it. So it’s not something new and basically it comes down to re-using goods, remanufacturing goods, remarketing used goods or selling goods as services.

In the future I see selling goods as services becoming much stronger, particularly if commodity prices continue to rise. Simply because it means you retain ownership of the embodied energy, water and materials. You assure your own future resource supply in the form of goods in the market. At the end of each service-life, it’s your choice if you want to recycle goods as materials or remanufacture them or reuse the components. It’s a new economy where you can exploit the highest possible value. It’s about value preservation.

Another idea is that instead of selling raw materials we lease raw materials. Anyone using raw materials would pay a rent to use them. The whole supply chain is based on a lease model and each stage has an obligation to know where the raw materials are and what is happening to them and return them after use.


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Re: what is the circular economy?

Unread postby ralfy » Sat 20 Sep 2014, 22:19:20

Recycling, etc., has been taking place in various poor countries for decades. The main reason is poverty.
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Re: what is the circular economy?

Unread postby Graeme » Sat 20 Sep 2014, 22:34:39

The circular economy isn't just recycling; it's a new business concept.

Circular economy business models held back by lack of access to finance

Companies buying into circular economy principles need to adopt new business models, in particular this means moving from selling products to selling services. In these business models, companies retain the property rights of products, which incentivises them to reduce environmental impact by designing for longevity.

Implementing and scaling these circular business models requires significant financial investment. While there is appetite from investors to meet these needs, there are also several barriers companies face when it comes to accessing finance.

Circular economy companies’ investment requirements are twofold. They must finance the ownership of products for a longer time than in a linear model, as the revenues from customers are linked to use or performance and trickle in over the lifetime of the product. Second, existing businesses moving from a linear to a circular business model need investment to change established systems, such as setting up a different revenue model.

The interest and ability of different sources of finance to meet these investment needs varies. Currently, debt is the primary source of finance to fund circular business and as banks account for the majority share of debt finance, improving their ability to finance circular businesses is crucial. But while banks’ interest in the circular economy is increasing, their actual investment in circular business models is still limited.

In the future, bonds can also be important financial instruments for circular businesses; the bond market accounts for the largest share of the capital markets. However, accessing the bond market requires that circular businesses mature and scale up to meet the market requirements.

On the equity side, there is interest and ability for crowdfunding to provide investment. A key benefit of crowdfunding is the ability to consider the environmental benefits of circular business models as well as their economic returns. Venture capital and private equity funds, which control much larger capital pools than crowdfunding, also invest in circular models, however, their requirements for high growth and relatively fast payback horizons can mean this source of finance is limited for circular businesses.


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Re: what is the circular economy?

Unread postby kublikhan » Sat 20 Sep 2014, 23:11:55

Graeme wrote:99 Per Cent Of Sweden's Garbage Is Now Recycled
This is false. Less than 1% is landfilled, but that doesn't mean the other 99% is recycled. Nearly half of their garbage is burned.

Today, only 1 percent of Sweden’s waste winds up in landfills. Half of it is recycled and 49 percent is burned in waste-to-energy facilities, up from 39 percent in 1999.

Sweden now imports about 700,000 tons of garbage per year to help produce electricity and heating for cities such as Helsingborg, a historic coastal hub of about 100,000 people in southwestern Sweden.
...
What this report doesn’t tell you is that although their emissions levels are low compared to what is regulated, there are many toxic particles that are not regulated and not counted such as mercury and organic nano particles that accumulate in fatty tissues.

Sweden has hard wired themselves into the need to burn garbage through district heating. As the rest of Europe moves away from burning because they recognize the down fall of creating toxins by burning all sort of mixed garbage, Sweden will be stuck.

We need to remember that out of that 51% that gets burned, 10% – 15% ends up as toxic waste that would not have been created in the first place, and the rest ends up in the air and eventually settles in our lakes and streams.
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Re: what is the circular economy?

Unread postby kublikhan » Sat 20 Sep 2014, 23:24:06

Turning unsorted and usable trash into a valuable fuel commodity means communities are less likely to choose to reduce, reuse and recycle it. Burning waste can seem easier and less expensive than sorting, diverting and recycling it. But once it's burned, it can never be used for anything else — it's gone!

Incinerating waste also comes with environmental problems. Although modern technologies reduce many air pollutants once associated with the process, burning plastics and other materials still creates emissions that can contain toxins such as mercury, dioxins and furans. As with burning fossil fuels, burning waste — much of which is plastics derived from fossil fuels — also produces carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions that contribute to climate change.

Burning waste doesn't make it disappear, either. Beyond the fly ash and pollutants released into the atmosphere, a great deal of toxic "bottom ash" is left over. Metro Vancouver says bottom ash from its Burnaby incinerator is about 17 per cent the weight of the waste burned. That ash must be disposed of, usually in landfills. Metro testing has found high levels of the carcinogenic heavy metal cadmium in bottom ash, sometimes twice the limit allowed for landfills. High lead levels have also been reported.

Incineration is also expensive and inefficient. Once we start the practice, we come to rely on waste as a fuel commodity, and it's tough to go back to more environmentally sound methods of dealing with it. As has been seen in Sweden and Germany, improving efforts to reduce, re-use and recycle can actually result in shortages of waste "fuel"!

Sending trash to landfills is clearly not the best solution. But we have better options than landfills and incineration, starting with reducing the amount of waste we produce.
Incinerating trash is a waste of resources
The oil barrel is half-full.
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