The goal is to achieve a modern society with a high and sustainable quality of life for future generations and as many people as possible. Circular Economy, in our view, follows five fundamental principles that take into account the finite nature of the resources available to us on Earth:
There is no waste, only feed, valuables and raw materials, which are used again.
In the “value creation” of biological systems, existing waste is either avoided or reused as feed or raw materials for new products.
In technical value creation, systems, machines and their components are returned, processed and reused wherever possible, at the highest possible level of aggregation, which also recycles value added stages of earlier production processes. Energy use is thus reduced, emissions avoided and resource reserves spared.
Circular Economy thinks systemically and not in individual processes like today’s typical linear economy.
Using the example of renewable energy sources, the deficits of thinking in the linear economy quickly become clear. Only recently has it become clear that the recycling of disused solar cells, batteries or rotor blades of wind turbines was not included in the concepts of using renewable energies. The use of water for fruit growing, e.g. on the Jordan River, causes serious problems due to the availability of drinking water, agriculture and the Dead Sea. Effects of developments and processes on other systems, eco-efficient consideration and inclusion of neighboring processes that can utilize waste products are indispensable elements of the circular economy.
Use of renewable energies and raw materials.
With the above limitations, we have made some progress in many developed countries over the last decades towards the conversion of our energy systems. However, hydrogen technologies, Power to X concepts, energy storage, sector coupling of mobility and power supply are challenges that are still far too slow and require significant investment in R & D and commercialization.
The application of biological processes and design principles has not yet been tackled on a large scale due to the hitherto cheap and high availability of fossil fuels and resources, with the exception of developments in economic niches. Huge potential for new biotech companies with reduced energy needs (and emissions) for the production of new materials will mean the restructuring of whole industries. Photosynthesis, genetically modified organisms, principles of construction derived from nature, and new materials based on biological principles provide unprecedented opportunities to counteract climate change and to provide humanity with food, products and services.
Just to remind you: The principles of a circular economy, however, require that systemically “smart” solutions are developed that do not lead to dead ends – such as the currently praised bio-plastic, but sustainable and thus in harmony with the environment and – as far as “Realo “Conditions feasible – social justice.
Diversity brings and strengthens resilience
Many examples show that monopolies and dominant companies strive for power, can build up extreme political lobbying and often prevent innovation. The mechanisms of linear economics and the lack of systemic thinking are often the cause of grave aberrations, such as the use of pesticides and insecticides on biodiversity. Dominant companies or oligopolies of companies can undermine policies without having to bear the consequences. Politics is no longer designing – it is far behind technological development by far. Meanwhile, innovation is created by outsiders who represent diversity – in mobility, agriculture and many other areas.
We all have seen the consequences of concentration in agriculture and animal husbandry, monocultures are becoming more susceptible to fungi, bacteria and pests. They require a high use of energy- and resource-consuming pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers and, increasingly, irrigation systems. Often, the side effects of the widespread use of chemicals do not appear until years or decades later, as is evident today, that biodiversity in rural areas is lower than in cities and insects have largely disappeared from our daily environment. Should international cooperation promote these developments in developing countries?
In contrast, there are natural farming methods, combinations of crops, farms that produce a high diversity of food and other agricultural products.