Author: sEaNERGIA Baltic Cluster

The United States has not been a trend setter in the circular economy field.[1]  As long ago as 2003 the United States Environmental Protection Agency recognized the need for a fundamental change to its core legislation, if effective waste and materials management was going to be achieved. A core concept suggested was a fundamental re-think of the waste versus non-waste core regulatory construct: one approach would be to treat all potentially hazardous materials to similar management controls/incentives based on their risk potential rather than as a waste – that is moving to “materials management” rather than “waste management”. Under this fundamental change materials would only be managed as waste once they were destined for disposal. By reducing the distinction between waste and materials such changes were expected to dramatically improve recycling and re-use rates. Such a change would solve the unintended consequences of waste legislation across OECD countries that has locked secondary materials as waste, setting hurdles for recovery and re-use in excess of those demanded of primary raw materials they are seeking to replace.[2]

To develop new circular economy opportunities and realise their ambitions faster in the USA the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has launched a US chapter of its Circular Economy 100 (CE100) program in 2016. The international CE100, established in 2013, includes corporations, universities, city and government authorities, and include brands such as Google, Cisco, Coca-Cola, eBay, Apple, Novelis, IBM and others. Specially developed programme elements help members learn, build capacity, network, and collaborate with key organisations around the circular economy. The US CE100 program launch follows a new study by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation[1] that says the 5,589 largest publicly traded companies in the US sent 342 million metric tons of waste to landfills and incinerators in 2014. And on average, companies generate 7.81 metric tons of waste for every million dollars in revenue. It also finds that if these same companies reduced their paper waste by a mere 1 percent, it would save them nearly $1 billion in total. By joining the US CE100, North America-based and focused organizations have access to collaboration, capacity building, networking as well as research and insight opportunities, to help them achieve their circular economy ambitions quicker.[2]

[1] (26.05.2017)

[2] (26.05.2017)

[1] Circular Economy Legislation. The International Experience, G. Gordon Davis, JD, and Jessica Anne Hall, JD; 2006

[2] Circular Economy: Trends and emerging ideas; The International Solid Waste Association, p. 21

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