CLIMATE: Key learnings in final Close the loop report
A more efficient and effective use of renewable and non-renewable resources is key to living within the boundaries of one planet and can result in environmental, social and economic benefits. These were some of the recently published key learning points from the joint WWF IKEA Close the loop project.
While reduction and reuse are top priority in order to conserve resources, recycling has great potential, too. As part of the two-year project ended this June, IKEA and WWF collaborated to analyse and test opportunities and challenges to close material loops.
The project investigated various aspects of full material recyclability with the aim to save natural resources, minimise CO2 emissions and have a positive impact on the environment by identifying new and innovative ways to turn waste into resources. Some general conclusions from the project:
• Multiple environmental, social and economic variables must be assessed to fully understand the impact of recycling, and to ensure it is positive overall.
• Recycling is not always positive. When transitioning to a more circular society we must not only assess recycling from a volume and percentage perspective but also assess the quality of recycling to ensure a positive impact.
• The importance of recycling non-renewable materials is clear since they are of limited supply. However, renewable resources are also in limited supply today, given present demand. Identifying the most efficient and effective use of renewable materials is a challenge, and the importance of recycling will vary substantially between local regions and over time.
• There are many old “truths” in the area of recycling that must be challenged. This is a developing field and new opportunities are emerging. For example, various types of chemical recycling are being developed, and textiles that could previously only be down-cycled to become fillers or rags will in time be possible to up-cycle.
To read the Close the loop report, click here