Benefits: why do we need to move to a circular economy?
To protect the environment
Reusing and recycling products would slow the use of natural resources, reduce disruption to landscapes and habitats, and help limit Loss of biodiversity.
Another advantage of the circular economy is a reduction in total annual greenhouse gas emissions. According to the European Environment Agency, industrial processes and product use are responsible for 9.10% of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU, while waste management accounts for 3.32%. %.
Creating more efficient and sustainable products from the start would help reduce energy and resource consumption, as it is estimated that more than 80% of a product’s environmental impact is determined during the design phase.
Switching to more reliable products that can be reused, upgraded and repaired would reduce the amount of waste. Packaging is a growing problem and, on average, the average European generates nearly 180 kilos of packaging waste per year. The aim is to combat excessive packaging and improve its design to promote reuse and recycling.
Reduce dependence on raw materials
The world population is increasing and with it the demand for raw materials. However, the supply of crucial raw materials is limited.
Limited supplies also mean that some EU countries rely on other countries for their raw materials. According to Eurostatthe EU imports around half of the raw materials it consumes.
Total value of trade (imports and exports) of raw materials between the EU and the rest of the world has almost tripled since 2002, with exports growing faster than imports. Either way, the EU still imports more than it exports. In 2021, this resulted in a trade deficit of 35.5 billion euros.
Recycling raw materials mitigates risks associated with supply, such as price volatility, availability and dependence on imports.
Create jobs and save consumers money
Moving towards a more circular economy could increase competitiveness, boost innovation, stimulate economic growth and create jobs (700,000 jobs in the EU alone by 2030).
Redesigning materials and products for circular use would also drive innovation across different sectors of the economy.
Consumers will benefit from more sustainable and innovative products that will improve their quality of life and save them money in the long term.