Case Study 5: Closing the Loop of the Circular Economy for Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility
Economic models are mostly built on the premise of ‘take-make-consume and dispose patterns of growth (EU, 2015a). Business and industry have customarily followed such a linear model that assumes that resources are abundant, available and cheap to dispose of; as every product is usually bound to reach its ‘end of life’ at some stage. When products worn out or are no longer desired, they are often discarded as waste. Their improper disposal in landfills may cause inconvenience and could pose health risks to nearby communities . In addition, the incineration of waste products creates the need to dispose of residual toxic metals which in turn bring problems of groundwater contamination. Moreover, the plastic waste that is dumped into the ocean is responsible for the deaths of millions of fish, seabirds and sea mammals, annually. At the same time, land degradation is constantly impacting on the natural environment, as arable land continues to disappear. Furthermore, the warming of the earth’s climate, that is one of the outcomes of carbon emissions from fossil fuels, is yet another serious problem facing today’s society.
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