James Clark from the University of York looks at the Circular Economy and its implications for sustainability.
The truly universal significance of the circular economy concept – today’s waste needs to be tomorrow resource – was brought home to me recently when I collected my car from a local small garage and the owner told me that he is now being offered about a quarter of the full price for old car batteries. The metals in batteries – and so many other common items are becoming valuable enough and scarce enough to make waste electronics and other metal-rich wastes a valuable commodity. It makes sense that rather than rely on a diminishing resource, mostly from regions where either local environmental, labor or political issues make supply problematic, let’s make better use of what we have on our doorstep – and we all have a lot of waste! But is this only an issue for waste electronics and electrical equipment (WEEE)?