As urbanisation intensifies and sustainability climbs higher up the global agenda, new solutions to old challenges are more important than ever. Waste management is one such challenge, but by investing in cleaner, more efficient waste-removal systems governments can, Jonas Törnblom argues, take a crucial step on the road to building more sustainable cities and a more sustainable world.
Back in 2007, just before the economic crash took hold, the biggest industry buzzword across most sectors was arguably “sustainability”. Then, as countries prioritised keeping their economies afloat over keeping them green, the cost of being sustainable was all too often prohibitive and the term fell out of favour.
However, there has been a resurging interest in sustainability – albeit in its new guise of the “circular economy”: the practice of replacing the typical approach of make, use and dispose with re-using and recycling as much as possible. In fact, it is moving further and further up the political and business agendas. And with its ability to boost countries’ GDPs and create tens of thousands of new jobs it’s easy to see why.
The European Commission has recently unveiled a new approach to waste and recycling targets to accelerate Europe’s transition to a circular economy, which requires member states to recycle 70 per cent of municipal waste and 80 per cent of packaging waste by 2030. The UK government, for example, has even set aside a €3.1million fund to help launch SMEs with circular economy-focussed business ideas.