Recycling has long been considered the way forward to reducing waste and its impact on the environment. Recycling products and packaging at end-of-life (EOL) is not the only way we can reduce the waste that would potentially go to disposal facilities. In North America, the Circular Economy (CE) is the new kid on the block – a concept whereby materials are kept in constant use as resources. This shifts the focus from end-of-life management to establishing continuous product lifecycles. To fit into the CE cycle it is equally important to consider the elements of the product at design stage and how materials will be recovered and recycled when they reach the end of their current life cycle. CE is a widely-used concept in Europe and is at the centre of the European Commission’s waste management and green growth strategy.
Close on the heels of the CE movement is Sustainable Materials Management (SMM). Both concepts strive to preserve natural capital by making better use of resources. SMM emphasizes the role of government working in partnership with others to bring about more sustainable approaches to using materials and minimizing their environmental impact at end of life. These two concepts are encouraging decision makers both public and private sector to explore different management solutions for materials that would otherwise be headed for disposal. Government and industry, working together, will find more holistic concepts for managing materials throughout their lifecycles.
Call2Recycle, Inc., North America’s first and largest consumer battery stewardship organization, recently released: “Shifting the Focus from End-of-Life Recycling to Continuous Product Lifecycles,” a white paper on how embracing the concepts of a circular economy can be a much more powerful way to address the issue of waste. The paper was commissioned by Call2Recycle and written by Betsy Dorn and Becky MacWhirter, RSE USA, and looks at the role of recycling in the circular economy.
You can read the complete white paper and view the hour-long webcast hosted by Call2Recycle with speakers consisting of C2Rs CEO and President, Carl Smith; Energizer’s Director of Regulatory and Government Affairs, Marcus Boolish; and Betsy Dorn, RSE USA Director, on our Resources page.