The circular economy, an alternative model to save the world

"It there is no planet B ", Said astronaut Thomas Pesquet The stand on April 4, in response to a question about the depletion of natural resources. Indeed, if humanity does not change its economic model, the survival of our species is not guaranteed in the long term. The linear economy, which consists of the extraction of raw materials, transforms them into objects that are used and thrown away, deploys materials and natural resources, such as water or arable land, while burying us under a mountain of junk. We must immediately think about less intensive production and consumption methods if we do not want future generations living in a world worthy of post-apocalyptic films.

An alternative to decay that nobody – or almost – wants?

The argument of technology that will save the world is (perhaps) relevant, but it is time that is lacking. The population could reach 9.7 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100, according to the World Bank. " Anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on endlessly in a finite world is a fool or an economist "Mock the economist and philosopher Kenneth Boulding, for whom the environment and economy are now inseparable.

It is of course not conceivable to radically change our consumption patterns to switch to a decrease that hardly anyone wants. But there is an alternative to this model of hyper consumption: the circular economy, which is aimed at recycling or re-use instead of discarding, to favor the use instead of the purchase, the sharing instead of the possession, the consumption of local products instead of imported from the other side of the world. A new lifestyle that is more economical and environmentally friendly, which could delay the train from overuse at full speed to the abyss.

The five pillars of the circular economy

For Rémy Le Moigne, former Deloitte, consultant and author of Circular Economy – Strategy for a sustainable world (Dunod), five practices form the basis of this alternative economy.

  • A: waste recycling said in long loop, in which they are collected, sorted and then recycled (composting or anaerobic fermentation for organic waste).
  • Two: short-loop recycling, that recycles the same material without mixing it with others.
  • Three: extend the life of objects through maintenance, repackaging and remanufacturing (The industrial process whereby a used product is returned to a state that is the same or better than the original state).
  • Four: the sale of the use or economy of functionality. We no longer buy a product, but its use.
  • Five: the sharing economy, or collaborative economy, Popularized by Uber, Airbnb or BlaBlaCar platforms. A fast-growing market expected to grow by 35% per year in Europe, compared to 3% for the economy as a whole, to 83 billion euro by 2025, compared to 4 billion today (source PwC).

Of course, replacing the linear economy with the circular alternative will take time. But you have to start now. The government understands it. On 23 April, the Prime Minister, accompanied by Brune Poirson, Secretary of State for Ecological and Solidarity Transition, presented the government's roadmap for a circular economy of a Groupe SEB factory, the French recoverable champion. A 50 step program with ambitious goals: halve waste to landfills, use 100% recycled plastic by 2025 and create up to 300,000 additional jobs.

" During his presidential campaign, Emmanuel Macron set a goal of "100% circular economy" "Says Arnaud Leroy, new chairman of the Ademe (Agency for Environment and Energy Management) and former spokesman for the En marche movement.

Carefully, the future president had no deadline. Let us hope that he supports this roadmap that will make France a leader in this new mode of sustainable production. Especially because opting for recycling instead of scrapping also provides permanent jobs.

" Recycling requires four times more jobs than landfill because there is still a very strong human presence. Moreover, these are non-movable jobs", Arnaud Leroy recalls.


TO FIND MORE: download the file THE HEBDO TRIBUNE No. 246 of March 29, 2018 "The challenges of the circular economy"

WEEK 246 cover, La Tribune, Weekly edition of 30/03/2018, circular economy,

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