Circular Companies: Recycling and Refurbishing

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#MoveTheDate

4:20

Minutes

For every dollar of value added to the German and global economy by circular business Interzero, global overshoot shrinks by over 28 global square meters. In comparison, the global economy adds, on average, 2.6 global square meters of overshoot for every dollar generated by the world economy. Because of Interzero’s existence, Earth Overshoot Day is 4 minutes and 20 seconds later than it would be without them.  

What is the solution?

Recycling and refurbishment are circular approaches that reduce our demand for virgin materials. This is achieved by processing goods at the end of their life into re-useable components or extending their useful lifetime.

This solution improves our resource security in the planet category.

How does it #MoveTheDate?

Humanity’s production of plastics has risen dramatically, more than any other human-made material since the mid 20th century. A significant amount of energy is required for plastic production and processing. Much of this power is from coal. Also, most plastics are made out of fossil fuel. Therefore, reducing the demand for plastic production will reduce energy demand and waste streams. Beyond resource savings, the far-reaching impacts of plastic waste on nature and human health have been well documented in recent years. 

How is it scalable?

Circular companies are not only scalable; they are positioned to succeed in the future. Their ability to drive down overshoot makes them more economically robust because there is a higher likelihood that they will be able to operate in the predictable future of climate change and resource constraints. This also increases the likelihood that they will be more valuable in the future. Companies like Interzero, which extend the utility of products or turn waste into new products, reduce the resource dependency of countries.  

What is the solution?

Recycling and refurbishment are circular approaches that reduce our demand for virgin materials. This is achieved by processing goods at the end of their life into re-useable components or extending their useful lifetime.

This solution improves our resource security in the planet category.

How does it #MoveTheDate?

Humanity’s production of plastics has risen dramatically, more than any other human-made material since the mid 20th century. A significant amount of energy is required for plastic production and processing. Much of this power is from coal. Also, most plastics are made out of fossil fuel. Therefore, reducing the demand for plastic production will reduce energy demand and waste streams. Beyond resource savings, the far-reaching impacts of plastic waste on nature and human health have been well documented in recent years. 

How is it scalable?

Circular companies are not only scalable; they are positioned to succeed in the future. Their ability to drive down overshoot makes them more economically robust because there is a higher likelihood that they will be able to operate in the predictable future of climate change and resource constraints. This also increases the likelihood that they will be more valuable in the future. Companies like Interzero, which extend the utility of products or turn waste into new products, reduce the resource dependency of countries.  

Circular economies are able to operate reusing, rather than discarding, waste. They “close the loop” by turning waste products into raw materials. Circular businesses are positioned to generate value by providing goods and services, while at the same time reducing overshoot. For example, the circular company Interzero, reduces humanity’s Ecological Footprint by over 28 global square meters per dollar value-add.1  In contrast, the conventional economies add Footprint as they contribute to GDP. On average, for every dollar of value generated in the world economy, there is an associated Ecological Footprint of 2.6 global square meters. In high-income economies, the Footprint intensity is a little lower: for the German economy, the Ecological Footprint is 1.0 global square meters per dollar value-add. 

Because of Interzero’s existence as one of the leading full-service circular solutions providers and especially its engagement in plastic recycling, Earth Overshoot Day is 4 minutes and 20 seconds later than it were without them. This many sound small, but consider that Interzero is just one medium-sized company.

Interzero’s contribution is reducing virgin plastics, a material that is ubiquitous in society today. With so many uses and benefits, it is no surprise that plastics have risen to be the most used human-made material. However, we must acknowledge that it they are a triple threat; not only have plastics made their way into every ecosystem on earth, threatening nature and biodiversity, but the massive increase in demand for production of plastics has led to a large carbon Footprint and poor human health. Closing the loop for plastics has the potential to alleviate all three of these issues. 

 

1 The footprint calculation of costs of Interzero’s operation includes the Ecological Footprint associated with greenhouse gas emissions (scope 3) and material usage of the entire business, while only including the greenhouse gas savings associated with Interzero’s primary activities in recycling. Emissions from scope 1 and 2 are subtracted. Because not all footprint reduction activities and not all footprint categories were included, this is a conservative estimate of the savings by Interzero. 

There’s no benefit in waiting!

Acting now puts you at a strategic advantage in a world increasingly defined by ecological overshoot. Countless solutions exist that #MoveTheDate. They’re creative, economically viable, and ready to deploy at scale. With them, we can make ourselves more resilient and #MoveTheDate of Earth Overshoot Day. If we move the date 6 days each year, humanity can be out of overshoot before 2050.