The key role of productive sector in circular economy
The linear model of economic growth with which we have coexisted in recent years no longer fits the needs of today's society in a globalized world. We have realized that we can not build our future on the "take, make and throw" model since many natural resources are finite.
This leads us to be more responsible with the use we make of the resources that the planet offers us, with our way of producing and consuming. In addition, companies have already begun to see the economic benefits of ursing resources in a more efficient way. And consumers also begin to value sustainable production when considering different brands for their purchases.
At the end of 2015 the European Commission adopted an ambitious package to boost the circular economy in Europe. According to this new model, the value of products and materials is maintained for the longest possible time. Thus, waste and resource use are minimized, and resources are conserved within the economy when a product has reached the end of its useful life, in order to reuse them repeatedly and continue to create value.
The benefits of transforming the current productive system into a circular economy are manifold, including job creation, the development of innovations that provide a competitive advantage and provide a greater level of protection of people and the environment. In addition, it also offers consumers more durable and innovative products that bring economic savings and a better quality of life.
But all this will not be possible without the involvement of all agents involved, both public administrations, the productive sector and companies, as well as consumers.
In the case of companies, the benefits of investing on the circular economy are multiple, since it means optimizing resources and materials by applying the "3-Rs rule", ie "reduce, reuse and recycle". A study by consulting firm McKinsey estimates that if the manufacturing sector adopted this system could save about 625 billion euros and would also create thousands of jobs.
The circular economy also promotes collaboration between companies, since the residue generated by one becomes the resource from which to create a new product in another company. In addition, producing this way also has benefits in terms of reputation and brand image, as consumers, increasingly demanding and informed, reward with their purchases those companies that are more responsible at all levels.
Finally, circular economy favors innovation and the development of new looks and solutions to produce in a totally different way. This enriches the productive system and even promotes the emergence of new business models, products and solutions.
This is the case of Ecorkwaste which aims to demonstrate technical, environmental and economic feasibility of a byproduct from the cork industry, according to the size of byproduct from the cork industry particles, in winery wastewater treatment system.
Ecorkwaste is a perfect example of a circular economy in which all actors are actively involved since the development of the project starts from the collaboration and joint work of different companies and institutions with the financial support of the European LIFE program.