Friday, March 2, 2012

No-waste circular economy is good business – ask China

Don't throw out that broken toaster: it's key to our prosperity. Redesigning the economy so that all waste is reused or recycled would be good for business, according to two new reports.

For centuries the global economy has been linear. Companies extract resources from the environment, turn them into products and sell them to consumers – who eventually throw them out. As a result we are burning through Earth's natural resources and wasting useful materials.

But it doesn't have to be that way, says Felix Preston of think tank Chatham House in London. Instead, we could have a circular economy in which waste from one product is used in another.

In "A Global Redesign: Shaping the circular economy", Preston argues that reusing resources makes good business sense now that resource prices are high and volatile. He cites a January report by consultants McKinsey & Company which tries to put a value on the circular economy. Read More