The world population is expected to grow to nine billion people by 2030, with limited resources. The circular economy provides an opportunity to limit disruptive changes on the planet.
By definition, the planet Earth accumulates finite resources. These are increasingly scarce, given that the population grows without stopping and needs to use all those that are available. Estimates say that in 2030 the Earth will inhabit nine billion people.
In this way, survival will depend on the ability of human beings to use resources efficiently, either by reducing their use, reusing them or recycling them. That is the fundamental principle on which the circular economy is based.
Under this premise, new strategies are opened that can bring important benefits to companies. Specifically, Accenture calculates that the new business models generated by the circular economy can mean $ 4.5 trillion.
Thus, innovation is postulated as a key resource to take advantage of these opportunities. The World Economic Forum chooses the companies that have made a great contribution to the advancement of the circular economy.
11 key circular economy projects
- Close the Loop: There is an alternative to asphalt when making roads. Close the Loop, an Australian company, recycles used printer cartridges and plastic to mix it with asphalt and glass. The result is roads that last 65% longer than those made with traditional asphalt. In each kilometer of road, 530 thousand plastic bags, 168 thousand glass bottles and 12,500 cartridges are used.
- DyeCoo: If the textile industry could count on a tool that would help you to dye your clothes in less time and using less water, the cost savings would be huge. This is what this Dutch company, which avoids the use of water and chemicals to a sector that generates a large amount of toxic waste. Its solution involves the use of highly pressurized carbon dioxide that manages to make the dye penetrate the fabric and also does not need drying. This company already collaborates with brands such as Nike or Ikea.
- Winnow: This British startup has gone one step beyond conventional smart sensors. His proposal is to create meters that analyze garbage. The purpose of this invention is to measure how food waste can be reduced. So far, this company has helped save $ 29 million per year in hundreds of kitchens in 40 countries.
- Enerkem: This firm born in Canada has made reality an idea how to use garbage as fuel for cars. Waste that can not be recycled contains coal. The Enerkem tool extracts it to convert it into gases first, and then into methanol and ethanol. These two components can be used in thousands of products per day. In this way, the Canadian city of Edmonton reuses 90% of its waste.
- Schneider Electric: 12% of the income of the French multinational Schneider Electric comes from circular economy activities. This company with presence in more than 100 countries uses recycled materials in its products which, together with other initiatives, will help to save 100 thousand metric tons of primary resources from 2018 to 2020.
- CamBrian: With nine plants in the United States, this company treats wastewater from industrial processes to transform it into clean water and also to produce biogas that in turn can be used to generate energy. In total, this company has treated 300 million liters of contaminated water.
- Lehigh Technologies: Apart from a famous airport, Atlanta accommodates this company that treats used tires and other rubber waste. The result is micronized rubber powder, which can be reused to produce tires, plastic, asphalt and construction material. The production of new tires with this technology is 500 million.
- HYLA Mobile: We all carry a smartphone in your pocket, if not any more. The constant innovation of these products generates mountains of obsolete devices. This Texas company collaborates with the main producers of these devices to reuse their components. More than 50 million devices have been used again, which has generated 4 billion dollars for their owners and has avoided 6,500 tons of waste.
- TriCiclos: In 2009, TriCiclos was born in Chile with the pretense of working for a “waste free world”. Now operates the largest network of recycling stations in South America, so it has managed to divert 33 thousand tons of recyclable sanitary material. Along with that, his contribution is to avoid 140 thousand tons of car emissions.bond.
- Miniwiz: If after all this article we said that garbage does not exist it would sound strange. However, that is the opinion of the founder of Miniwiz, Arthur Huang, who also believes that recycling and reusing was the normal habit until the 20th century. His ambition is to create new materials (already has more than a thousand) and sustainable applications. The best example is the Trashpresso machine, a mobile recycling plant that is capable of converting 50 kilos of plastic bottles into construction material in one hour, using only solar energy.
- AB InBev: As the case of Schneider Electric shows, large companies are joining the circular economy. It also happens with AB InBev, the beer maker such as Budweiser, Corona or Leffe. The largest manufacturer in the world wants their containers to be 100% reusable or made with recycled material by 2025. In fact, about half are sold in glass bottles of this type.