From the ‘take, make, dispose’ model to ‘make, use, return’.
A circular economy aims to maintain the value of products, materials and resources in the economy for as long as possible, and to minimise the generation of waste. Chemistry is central to the ideal of the circular economy. Whether one’s talking about paper, battery or plastics recycling, the process is fundamentally chemical.
The 20th Century mandated recycling for wastes that were filling up landfills and polluting the landscape. In the 21st century we are working on technologies to extract and recycle carbon from CO2 emissions or design products that will never go to waste.