Zirkulär in die Zukunft: Pioniere der Kreislaufwirtschaft

rethink sustainability

Zirkulär in die Zukunft: Pioniere der Kreislaufwirtschaft

Das Konzept der Kreislaufwirtschaft bietet zahlreiche Vorteile. Vor allem im Kampf gegen den Klimawandel liefert es Methoden, um Probleme unserer Wegwerfgesellschaft und der Umweltverschmutzung durch Plastik zu beheben.

Internationale Unternehmen verfügen in diesem Bereich grosses Potenzial. Pioniere der Kreislaufwirtschaft entwickeln Strategien, um umweltschonend und gleichzeitig wirtschaftlich tragfähig zu handeln. Mit innovativen Geschäfts- und Produktionsmodellen unterstützen sie Transformationsprozesse in Unternehmen von einer linearen hin zu einer zukunftsgerichteten Kreislaufwirtschaft.

Pioniere der Kreislaufwirtschaft entwickeln Strategien, um umweltschonend und gleichzeitig wirtschaftlich tragfähig zu handeln

Wer sind diese Pionierunternehmen, die neue Wege gehen, um eine bessere Zukunft zu schaffen?


Lebensmittelabfälle (und deren Vermeidung)

Lebensmittelabfälle stellen mitunter eines der grössten Umweltprobleme unserer Zeit dar. Einer aktuellen Studie zufolge produzierten britische Einzelhändler, Gastronomiebetriebe und Haushalte alleine im Jahr 2018 9,5 Mio. Tonnen an Lebensmittelabfällen. Nach einer Schätzung der Ernährungs- und Landwirtschaftsorganisation der Vereinten Nationen wären Lebensmittelabfälle, wären diese ein Land, der drittgrösste Treibhausgasemittent, gefolgt von USA und China.

Das britische Start-up-Unternehmen Winnow hat nun eine intelligente Küchentechnik entwickelt, das Grossküchen bei der drastischen Reduzierung von Lebensmittelabfällen unterstützt. Installiert werden die smarten Waagen auf den Mülleimern in Grossküchen. Wirft das Küchenpersonal Lebensmittel weg, gibt es auf dem installierten Bildschirm an, welche Lebensmittel weggeworfen wurde. Das System von Winnow analysiert die Abfälle und gibt dann Empfehlungen, wie vermeidbare Lebensmittelabfälle reduziert werden können.

Die Abfallreduktion von Konsumenten und Einzelhändlern ist die effizienteste Strategie, um die CO2-Emissionen der Lebensmittelbranche und Landwirtschaft zu reduzieren

Ein UN-Bericht1 aus dem Jahr 2019 zeigte: Die Abfallreduktion von Konsumenten und Einzelhändlern ist die effizienteste Strategien, die CO2-Emissionen der Lebensmittelbranche und der Landwirtschaft zu reduzieren. Das System von Winnow kommt bereits in über 1’000 Grossküchen unter anderem in China, Nordamerika, Europa und den VAE sowie bei globalen Ketten wie IKEA, Sofitel und Marriott Hotels zum Einsatz. Nach Angaben des Unternehmens hat das System 61’000 Tonnen CO2 eingespart – das entspricht einer Menge, die 13’000 Pkws pro Jahr ausstossen.

Extending product lifespan

The recycling system around plastics has long been the subject of criticism, with the amounts that are reused a small fraction of what is being produced. What’s more, falling oil prices have impacted recycling levels as virgin plastic is considerably cheaper than recycled plastic. In the US, large amounts of plastics are also being sent to landfill due to a lack of capacity for them to be recycled.

French company Schneider Electric could have part of the solution to this problem. It provides software, hardware and services for energy management in homes, businesses, data centres and industrial plants. Its product range is huge, ranging from circuit breakers, switches, solar power inverters and renewable energy storage batteries to industrial robotics, data centre cooling systems and motion detectors for security systems. The circular economy strategy it has adopted means its products are now manufactured using more recycled content and recyclable materials. It has committed to doubling the quantity of recycled plastics in all products by 2025 and banned single-use plastics in all of its facilities.

Product lifespans have been extended through a range of initiatives, including leasing and pay-per-use programmes, which see the products themselves, and the components within them, being returned and re-used rather than becoming waste.

Product lifespans have been extended through a range of initiatives, including leasing and pay-per-use programmes, which see the products themselves, and the components within them, being returned and re-used rather than becoming waste

Since 2012, Schneider has increased the amount of waste it recovers from 8% to 95%2, the equivalent of saving 11,000 ton of waste from landfill. It's recently launched Green Packaging Project aims to reduce the use of plastic film in packaging by 97,000 square meters, which could cover 14 soccer fields.

The company has also introduced the ECOFIT service for industrial customers through which old electrical equipment is either fully or partially replaced with new in order to extend its lifespan, and the obsolete equipment is removed for recycling.

It’s not just companies that are tackling plastic pollution. Regulators are playing a part too. The EU’s post-COVID recovery package will impose a tax on non-recycled plastic and pass on the proceeds to EU coffers from January 2021.


Cutting carbon while creating clean water and energy

The international competition for water has led to a scarcity across the globe with a quarter of the world's population living in water stress3 As a result, solutions to relieve the problem surrounding water supply are much in demand.

In Massachusetts, Cambrian Innovation has invented the EcoVolt Reactor technology, a wastewater treatment system that typically removes 80% of pollutants to provide clean water while converting the chemical energy of the pollutants into clean, renewable energy.

Used in a wide range of industrial sectors, EcoVolt has enabled leading NapaValley winery, Rombauer Vineyards, to consistently remove 99.9% of the pollutants in its wastewater. Additionally, having an on-site wastewater treatment system means the winery no longer has to transport wastewater for treatment using diesel-burning trucks. This has seen Rombauer reduce its annual carbon emissions by 4,150 metric tons, which is the equivalent of the electricity used in 703 average homes in a year.

The company operates subscription services, in which it installs, owns and operates the system for customers, providing a circular energy and water solution for some of the world's largest industrial corporations and government departments.


Diverting e-waste

With the rise in the number of electronic devices and equipment being used has come a spike in e-waste. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has highlighted the problems of dealing with used materials as both adults and children risk exposure to hazardous substances during primitive recycling techniques.

HYLA Mobile is working to reuse and recycle the millions of smartphones and tablets that get discarded when consumers upgrade to the next version. Reports have suggested4 e-waste has grown by 9.2 million tonnes since 2014 and is projected to grow to 74.7 million tonnes by 2030. In the past 10 years, HYLA Mobile has recycled and reused 57.9 million devices, which has saved almost 18,000 tons of e-waste from going to landfill. Working with leading manufacturers and service providers, such as Samsung, Vodafone and Verizon, it provides a software platform and analytics services that enables retail companies to run cost-effective device collection and trade-in programmes. The used phones and tablets are then processed by HYLA's Device Processing and Liquidation service, which either refurbishes them or recycles the components within them.

According to the World Economic Forum, they have noted that a circular economy for electronics could reduce the costs to consumers by 7 per cent by 2030, and 14 per cent by 2040. 


The circular impact

Progress has been made but a lot more needs to come. The global rate of circularity is just 8.6%5 so there is a seismic shift needed in how businesses, governments and communities operate to realise the benefits that a circular economy can bring. One success story, and a model for other countries to follow is in the Netherlands - the country has achieves a 24.6% circularity and has been suggested as a blueprint for success.

The global rate of circularity is just 8.6% so there is a seismic shift needed in how businesses, governments and communities operate to realise the benefits that a circular economy can bring.

The benefits are clear - the World Economic Forum has calculated that global adoption of circular strategies could deliver up to $4.5 trillion in economic benefits by 2030. At the same time, delivering these economic benefits delivers less waste, reduces primary resource extraction, increases recycling, and uses less energy.

 

1 http://www.fao.org/3/ca6481en/ca6481en.pdf
https://sdreport.se.com/en/circular-economy-highlights
3 https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/aug/06/extreme-water-stress-affects-a-quarter-of-the-worlds-population-say-experts
4 https://publications.globalewaste.org/v1/file/271/The-Global-E-waste-Monitor-2020-Quantities-flows-and-the-circular-economy-potential.pdf
5 https://www.circularity-gap.world/

Wichtige Hinweise.

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