Ragn-Sells view on Circular Economy

According to the UN, the extraction and processing of natural resources account for about 50 percent of climate change, 90 percent of biodiversity loss, and 90 percent of the threat to access to water. 

If we are serious about creating a sustainable society, we need to use the materials we already have, over and over again. 

Transitioning to a circular economy is crucial to our ability to mitigate climate change, the depletion of our natural resources, and the risk of overshooting planetary boundaries. But the current view on waste stands in the way of this transition. 

  • Making society circular requires a whole new attitude towards waste, where waste is treated as a source of sustainable resources. This requires extensive reforms of legislation, taxes, and regulation. 
  • A general ambition to reduce the amount of waste does not lead to a circular economy. Instead, the important ambition must be the long-term reduction of the unsustainable extraction of increasingly depleted natural resources.
  • The so-called waste hierarchy, more or less fundamental to all current legislation and regulation of waste in Europe and other developed countries, does not address the right issues, thereby counteracting efforts to establish large-scale circular flows.
  • The waste hierarchy, or any principle aimed at the general reduction of waste, needs to be abandoned and replaced with a fundamental strategy for a sustainable supply of raw materials, used as the starting point for all legislation and regulation.
  • All production of materials needs to be given the same conditions, regardless of whether its origin is waste or virgin production. 
  • A new definition of waste must be established, allowing more waste flows to be used as sources of raw materials. 
  • Virgin materials do not fully bear the cost of its extraction and emissions, which gives them a competitive advantage compared to recycled materials. This skewed market condition needs to be adjusted. 
  • The lawful and lucrative use of harmful substances in goods makes many potential material loops impossible. The polluter, who benefits from introducing harmful substances into the system, must pay for them to be taken out of the system.

To find out why the transition to a circular economy is so important, download and read "Ragn-Sells view on Circular Economy". 

A new perspective on waste

Download "Ragn-Sells' view on Circular Economy" (pdf).