Five areas of waste production that need circularity

Posted on 4th May 2021

The Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) has identified five areas that produce excessive amounts of waste that are prime for circular innovation. Those areas are food, clothing, plastics, electronics, and the equipment and machines that keep society running. These areas extract the most resources while creating the most waste and therefore contribute greatly to the climate and environmental emergency.   

We must reduce food waste while changing what we are growing and how we are growing it by adopting more fruit and vegetable-based diets and using more regenerative farming techniques. Meanwhile, the clothing industry needs to move towards making clothes for longevity and recyclability, to reduce resource consumption and textile waste. For plastics, producers need to eliminate creating plastics that cannot be recycled while consumers need to refuse buying single-use-plastics. The electronics industry needs an effective waste collection system as the waste from this industry is the fastest growing waste stream in the world. 

The last area is capital equipment, which includes everything from machines to the infrastructure that keeps society moving. But unlike the other areas, this sector has embraced circularity far more than the aforementioned ones. Most capital equipment is built and designed for longevity, an inherently circular principle. But even though this is the case, there is still much room for circular improvement, particularly in sourcing more sustainable building materials in construction. 

Read in more detail about how each area can become more circular here