Table of contents:
- What is circular economy?
- Background: why is the circular economy needed?
- The EU strategy includes the following points:
- How does the industry react?
Video: The Advantages Of The Circular Economy
2023 Author: Hannah Pearcy | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 11:39
The EU adopted a circular economy action plan this week. Among other things, the focus is on making products more durable and better informing consumers about possible repair options.
What is circular economy?
A circular economy describes the closing of the energy and material cycles through recycling, reuse, repair, maintenance and other measures.
The EU defines the circular economy as follows:
“The circular economy is a model of production and consumption in which existing materials and products are shared, leased, reused, repaired, refurbished and recycled as long as possible. This extends the life cycle of the products. In practice, this means that waste is reduced to a minimum. After a product has reached the end of its life, the resources and materials remain in the economy as much as possible. They can always be used productively to continue generating added value.”Source: European Parliament
Contrary to the circular economy is the linear economy or the throw-away economywhich is currently the prevailing principle. In the linear economy, a product is created from a raw material, which passes from production to retail to the end consumer and is thrown away there after use.
Background: why is the circular economy needed?
We live in a throw-away society - defective devices are no longer repaired, but thrown away and bought new. Repairs are often not worthwhile or knowledge is lacking. And many products are not designed to be repaired at all. By 2050, the EU estimates, we will use our raw materials as wastefully as if we had three planets. The global garbage mountain will grow by 70%. The idea of a circular economy should counteract this: products that last longer, less waste, more recycling and repair.
The EU strategy includes the following points:
- Product design: Today's product development often does not focus on recyclability, repairability or longevity. With a legislative initiative, the EU wants to extend the ecodesign directive beyond energy-related products in order to make the ecodesign framework applicable to the widest possible range of products.
- Strengthen consumers: Consumers should be informed about the service life, possible spare parts and repair options before purchasing a product. The EU also plans to introduce measures against planned obsolescence.
- A right to repair: The EU wants to introduce a right to repair electronic devices, which are currently among the fastest growing garbage producers. In addition, uniform charging plugs and better delivery of old devices should help.
- Batteries: The recycling rate of batteries should be improved and rechargeable batteries should be preferred.
- Packaging: Unnecessary packaging waste should be avoided and packaging should be made more recyclable
- Recycling: Garbage should be reduced and recycling should be improved
Circular Economy Action Plan
How does the industry react?
The ZVEI supports the new EU strategy. “Closing cycles and a competitive industry are not mutually exclusive. Rather, they are mutually dependent,”said Wolfgang Weber, CEO of ZVEI. According to the ZVEI, companies in the electrical engineering and electronics industry have already made a contribution to the circular economy through products that conserve energy and resources.
Weber demands that all actors along the value chain be intensively involved in the design of the circular economy and that in future the European regulations apply uniformly to all member states in the emerging new market for secondary raw materials. There is no clear regulation in Europe, especially when using recycled plastic in electrical products. "It is therefore imperative to create EU standards for the quality criteria of recycled plastics," said Wolfgang Weber.
10 examples of sustainability in machine tool construction
The VDMA also fundamentally supports the initiative. The concept of a circular economy could become a success model and initiate new business models. "For this, the EU must not lose itself in small-scale regulation, but must create the right framework and focus on the design of a secondary raw materials market," says Holger Kunze, head of the VDMA European office.
The market for secondary raw materials does not yet work, but it is the basis of a circular economy. As long as primary raw materials are significantly cheaper than secondary raw materials, there is no market incentive to use them. The right quality and quantity at competitive prices make it attractive for companies. "It is therefore now important to develop quality standards for recycled materials and their reuse together with the industry," says Kunze.
Mechanical engineering plays an important role in the circular economy, because machines not only produce products, they are also used for their reuse, repair, reprocessing and recycling. At the same time, mechanical engineering is itself an important part of a circular economy. Because machines can also be repaired, upgraded, often reused and have a lifespan of decades. Machine reprocessing is therefore a longstanding business model in the capital goods sector.
Due to the cancellation and postponements of trade fairs in Germany due to the corona virus, Germany as a trade fair location is already significantly affected. Trade fair organizers and service providers incur considerable losses as a result. Many other industries are also badly affected
How does blockchain work? Which applications in industry, logistics, mobility and in the energy sector make sense? Ask top experts from the blockchain community at the 1st Blockchain Practice Forum on February 21 in Munich
New filter fabrics for industry promise more efficiency and economy. Computer simulations can help with numerical calculation methods such as turbulence models to develop new filter materials
Prof. Holger Rogall from the HWR Berlin explained before the Bundestag how sustainability can permanently strengthen the German economy and why it is essential for Germany to get to the top in terms of climate protection
The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) 2016 World Robot Statistics shows a record mark of 248,000 units for worldwide sales of industrial robots in 2015. The IFR also announced that Junji Tsuda has been elected as the new Vice President