Energy, a major oversight in the circular economy and resource management?
With the threat of resource depletion, the idea of "Circular Economy" has virally spread in recent years as a "buzzword" with a positive symbolic charge. It has become essential in order to define modern waste management, not only in Europe but also abroad, such as in China. However, there is no single and commonly accepted definition of this concept. This one always seems simple and attractive with the image of an eternal cycle or a closed loop of our resources in a perfect circle.
Many questions then arise around this almost miraculous idea: "Is it really a closed circle?", "How large is the circle of the circular economy?", "How to transform this concept into a concrete, scientific and measurable project?", "What are the essential raw materials on which we depend?", "How can we keep the circular economy clean?", and finally, "Where is the energy to make this "wheel" turn smoothly and is this energy circular? ». Energy is the fundamental "detail" not to be forgotten, because there are no resources, no economy, not even life without energy! Perpetual motion does not exist, just like infinite recycling or zero waste. Leonardo da Vinci's beautiful inventions such as the helicopter remained motionless for more than 4 centuries in the absence of the energy source able to animate them.
The pandemic and situations of lockdown and scarcity have recently and cruelly reminded us of the importance of these principles of sovereignty over our resources and of proximity of tools to meet our vital needs. This crisis has shown how essential the continuity of public waste management services is, as a basic human need, part of the "metabolism" of cities. Waste contains resources rich in materials and energy.
The aim of this presentation is to understand the motivations and foundations of these concepts of circular economy and resource management and to show how Energy-from-Waste (EfW) is a sustainable pillar for them.
- Energy is the fundamental "detail" not to be forgotten, because there are no resources, no economy, not even life without energy!
- Perpetual motion does not exist, just like infinite recycling or zero waste. We need final sink for residual non recyclable waste !
- Energy-from-Waste (EfW) is a sustainable pillar for circular economy and resource management !