There are some misunderstandings when it comes to the Circular Economy. In a recent circular event a 3D printed flower vase was shown, made from bamboo. The speaker told the audience with pride that new bamboo grasses will be grown locally for this purpose. I must say, it was a very nice designed vase but growing bamboo on fertile soil to produce stuff we don’t really need doesn’t solve future resource scarcity. Anyway, that’s just my opinion, not my point.
My point is that in short the Circular Economy means: ‘using what we already have’. Making vases from renewable sources has everything to do with the Biobased Economy. I probably do not make ‘BbE’ friends by writing this but in most cases biobased solutions are not necessarily sustainable. The Biobased Economy is only circular when waste of crops is used to make new materials, for example Oriented Strand Board from corn stalks. If the vase above was made from corn stalks, it would have been a biobased-circular vase, which is a better proposition 🙂
Biobased waste is usually fermented or incinerated to recover energy, which is downcycling and the least favorable option. Somehow policymakers believe that this contributes to an energy neutral region but I can’t quite figure out how that’s possible. In recent years many biodigesters were set up, most of which subsidised by the same policy makers. These biodigesters need to process biomass. A lot biomass. The result is that many mown grasses and remaining crops no longer remain on farmlands. This causes loss of soil fertility and deterioration of agricultural land. That is not progress…
We must deal carefully with our farmlands and better reflect how we use it. It is wiser to grow more food, so we are able to feed ourselves and the additional 2 billion people in about 35 years time.
Let’s use waste to produce new stuff and use farmlands for the right stuff.