Circular Economy (CE) is defined as an economic system that aims at eliminating waste, reusing, remaking, and recycling of resources. In this model, all waste should become an input or "food" to the next process. In contrast, linear economy ends with the generation of waste, which could lead to pollution and environmental issues, affecting sustainability in different sectors.
Significance of Circular Economy:
Human consumption is already beyond 1.75 times the earth’s carrying capacity. This trend is expected to increase with a growing world population, resulting in further environmental and social harm. Currently, emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons and methane, contribute to increased global temperatures, drastically changing climate patterns and weather extremes. Water, soil and air contamination from agrochemicals, waste, plastics and other pollutants leaking into the biosphere has a disastrous effect on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, food production, the ability of soils and oceans to sequester carbon, and animal, plant and human health.
With only 9% of extracted natural resources currently re-used, the potential is enormous to re-introduce these resources into the economy and take the ‘waste’ out of the current linear ‘take, make and waste’ extractive industrial model. Circularity offers solutions to both resource scarcity (e.g., through water reuse) and waste generation (e.g., plastics, green house gases).
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity to bring together waste and health experts to assess the impacts that this pandemic is having on zero waste policies and strategies. All while highlighting the scarcity-driven innovations that will pave the way for long-term reduction of waste and propose a model to address other shortages we face.
As part of the task force team, we are discussing all different issues related to circular economy from all different perspectives. In particular, we are focusing on circularity in energy, circularity in water, circularity in food & agriculture, and circularity in materials and manufacturing. Our main objective is to prepare scientifically driven policy proposals to G20 leaders to achieve sustainable circular economy. As a researcher and someone with a passion for clean and healthy environment, I am hopeful that our efforts in these policy recommendations to:
1- create new global initiatives to maximize our reliance on renewable technologies and waste-free technologies, especially in rural areas and developing countries.
2- strengthen global collaboration among researchers and the scientific community through open data sharing to combat pandemics and advance science and technology.
3- Improve the social economy through the eyes of science and technology by global participation.