Circularity seeks to optimise every aspect of a product’s lifecycle from raw material extraction to manufacturing and first use, and multiple use-lives thereafter, through product re-design, new business models and novel technologies and processes.
It is now widely recognised that the circular economy (CE) agenda is fundamentally intertwined with the zero-carbon agenda. Europe has committed to accelerating the transition to a circular economy – with circular principles central to the EU’s Industrial Strategy and EU Green Deal. In this context, as Ireland navigates the path to COVID-19 recovery, now is the opportunity to embed circularity in the Irish economy – creating substantial socio-economic, environmental, and business benefits.
Shifting to an economy where the embedded value in materials, components and products is retained through resource life-extension strategies.
More recently, in the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP 2.0) the European Commission highlighted that implementation of circular economy principles will increase the EU’s GDP by an additional 0.5% by 2030 while creating 700,000 new jobs.
In an Irish context, the EPA estimate that annually we use 100 million tonnes of materials – where implementing a 5% material improvement across the economy would represent an annual €2.32bn opportunity. Moreover, valorising waste creates opportunities for import substitution and reinforces the economic benefits of regional supply-chains to Irish companies.