The underlying principles of recycling and their relevance in a business model can be used to revive local economies says Ian Adlington, CEO, New Carbon Economics
The concept of re-using human resources and abandoned physical assets, if applied correctly, can be the catalyst towards increasing economic activity. The past 30 years has seen the emergence of recycling as a method to help save the environment. It is also the catalyst in economic revitalization.
A fundamental principle of recycling is the idea that unused products or waste can be processed into something useful. Local and national governments, NGO’s and private companies have all demonstrated some level of commitment to recycling, whether it has been through the implementation of citywide recycling programs, or the encouragement of employees to use reusable water bottles. With all its success, maybe the notion of recycling shouldn’t just be restricted to the environment – maybe it is time to start looking at recycling as a method in which to save local economies.
The virtuous circle of carbon economics is now mapped beyond environmental regeneration, it builds new economies too. These new economies can be described, for example, as circular economies. According to the Club of Rome, a circular economy is the economy “where products are designed for longer use, reuse, disassembly and refurbishment. Materials should be reused and recycled to the extent possible, thus reducing the demand for mining and new manufacturing. A bonus effect would be the creation of many new jobs within the service organization needed at local level.
The circular economy ought to be promoted by the adoption of binding targets for resource efficiency, increased taxes on the use of virgin materials and priority given to sustainable innovation and design.”
Ian Adlington CEO New Carbon Economics said “without a doubt, modern energy from waste projects has equal importance to that of the development of solar power. In terms of economic benefit, recycling of waste to energy will create more localized employment opportunities and corresponding wealth creation, whilst positively impacting on reducing CO2 emissions reduction and the short-term lived climate forcers, such as black carbon.”
Recycling in all its forms is about reducing our dependency on fossil fuels; it is about converting our waste output into energy. It is about figuring out how to have international collaboration on economic redevelopment and revitalization that is both virtuous and circular. This can be done by lean structures of local entrepreneurialism, and not just by governments and large corporations.