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The case for closing the loop
The consumer goods industry could achieve cost savings of $700bn a year if it followed “closed-loop” production principles. So finds a new report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which is working to promote the re-use of raw materials in industrial processes.
Beer manufacturers, for instance, could reduce their packaging expenditure by one fifth were they to switch from disposable to reusable glass bottles. Closed-loop systems also offer new income streams, the report states.
The authors predict that, should biogas-based power generation take off, then household food waste could become a £1.5bn annual industry. At present, an estimated 80% of products bought by OECD citizens end up in incinerators, landfill or waste water, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. That equates to a per capita average of around 640kg of food and drink, 96kg of packaging, and 16kg of new clothing and shoes.
Waste not, want not
Wasting food is culturally looked down upon in most corners of the world, yet that doesn’t seem to stop us doing it. As much as 2bn tonnes of food goes to waste every year, roughly half of total food production, research by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers finds.
A demarcation exists between developed...