Climate policy is growing in importance. Governments have committed to the Paris Agreement and slowly but surely businesses are also choosing sustainability. That’s a relief – after all, it’s the eleventh hour: if we want to have a livable planet in the near future, the transition to a circular economy is absolutely necessary. It aims for a continuous life cycle of products and commodities, in other words, maximum reuse.
An increasing number of companies are becoming aware of their ‘ecological footprint’ and commit to waste separation and recycling. That´s a good thing, but there is one side note: now policy for dealing with the flow of waste is mostly developed afterwards, while in fact it should happen beforehand. After all, a circular economy is all about maximum re-use, and that is only possible if you take that into consideration from the beginning.
Of course there are inspirational examples of sustainable companies who have turned re-use into an art, but those are still the exception. For most companies re-use is a side issue. Unfortunate yet understandable: why should you, if there’s no economic incentive? The British collective ‘BlindSpot Think Tank’ has come up with a solution for that: ‘premium precycling’.
With premium precycling manufacturers pay a surcharge to compensate for the environmental impact of their products. The size of that surcharge depends on the extent to which a product is re-usable: the less unusable waste, the lower the surcharge. In this way the manufacturer is reminded of his responsibility. In fact: in this construction that responsibility is also linked to the product after use, the risk of waste.
With premium precycling the Universal language of money speaks: the more sustainable the product, the lower the premium. Of course that premium can be charged to the consumer, but that means a higher sales price. In other words: sustainable manufacturers create a market advantage for themselves.
The inflow of money from premium precycling can be used to reduce the growing mountain of waste. Waste management is given a structural impulse, which will benefit innovative solutions. With premium precycling a circular economy can actually take root. The European Commission and the European member states are already considering the plan. To be continued.
Every month, a new sustainability topic is discussed on the www.improve4all.nl/blog. Each topic is discussed in detail in three blog articles. At the end of the month the articles are bundled in a newsletter. In February 2016 the central topic is the circular economy.
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