The world’s population consumes more than 100 billion tons of resources every year, a statistic that has quadruple since 1970. By contrast the world’s population has only doubled. By consuming at this rate (twice as fast as population growth) humanity is edging closer to global disaster. A report by Circle Economy reveals that out of those 100 billion tons, only 8.6% of it is being recycled; nearly a third is expended on buildings and vehicles, 15% is released as greenhouse gases, and almost a quarter becomes environmental pollution. The remaining third is sent to landfills.
“We are still fuelling our growth in population and affluence by the extraction of virgin materials. We can’t do this indefinitely – our hunger for virgin material needs to be halted.”
– Marc de Wit (lead author of the Circle Economy report)
Harald Friedl, the chief executive of Circle Economy, says that the solution lies in the hands of world leaders. “Governments must urgently adopt circular economy solutions if we want to achieve a high quality of life for close to 10 billion people by mid-century without destabilising critical planetary processes.”
While nearly 15 countries have implemented circular economy policies, one thing has become abundantly clear: if humanity does not take a more aggressive approach to resource conservation, our planet will continue to die at an increasingly faster rate.