An Introduction to Circular Economy

Waste Management Practices: Innovation, Waste to Energy and e-EPR

Abstract

Solid waste is the unseen side of the circular economy. Governments need innovative policy to create functional markets to keep waste generated within the supply chain. Transitioning to minimal or no net waste requires innovation to avoid compromising quality of life. This means transfer from the current linear thinking model with large expensive centralized infrastructure to discrete distributed chains of infrastructure and using the circular economy principles. Most developed countries have already initiated prevention of waste. The waste management hierarchy (reuse, recovery, recycling, thermal recycling and disposal) can be optimized by innovation. By creating smaller circular waste pathways closer to the source of waste generation, more expensive end of life solutions can be rightsized due to higher resource recovery rates (from 10% up to 80%). The best-case scenario for National level waste resource waste management is 67% material recycling, 25% thermal recycling, and 8% to sanitary landfills. Through further innovation in product design and business delivery models, the thermal destruction and landfill can be further reduced. Extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes create higher resource recovery efficiency and can be revenue positive to Governments. Through public-private partnership models, these EPR schemes can be digitized to improve the efficiency of circular economy.

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