Prevention is better than cure

Less waste through precycling
PostedFebruary 10, 2016, in  Step 7: sustainable excellence
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On average, the European citizen throws away half a ton of waste. Part of that is re-used. Recycling is on the rise, but the road to a circular economy is long. To combat the growing mountain of waste it is necessary to avoid waste: precycling. What doesn’t exist cannot cause pollution either.

On the way to a circular economy

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.

Source: Pixabay

Not afterwards but beforehand

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.  

Side issue

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. 

Market advantage

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.

Structural impulse

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.

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Every month, a new sustainability topic is discussed on the 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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PostedFebruary 10, 2016, in Step 7: sustainable excellence
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