Circular economy can cut CO2 emissions by 39%: study

(EurActiv, 27 Jan 2021) Switching to a circular economy could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 39% and ease pressure on virgin materials by 28%, according to the Circularity Gap Report, published on Tuesday (26 January).

If those principles were applied, 22.8 billion tonnes of carbon emissions could be saved and help avoid climate breakdown, according to the study by Circle Economy.

But the report also contained bad news. Only 8.6% of the world’s economy can be considered circular, down from 9.1% two years earlier.

“The circularity gap is widening, and with it, the climate and biodiversity impacts of our extractive economies,” said Gino van Begin, secretary general of ICLEI, a global network of over 1,750 governments committed to sustainable development.

“To confront environmental challenges and deliver socio-economic benefi ts, we must rethink how we consume and dispose of materials,” he said, adding metrics are essential to track progress.

By reusing and recycling products, the world can reduce the need for virgin materials, like minerals, fossil fuels, metals and biomass. All of these have environmental impacts, ranging from greenhouse gas emissions to deforestation.

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EurActiv, 27 Jan 2021: Circular economy can cut CO2 emissions by 39%: study