COVID-19 Stimulus: Global figures unite in calls for real circular economy

15 June 2020

Some 30 global experts will today call on world leaders to back the transition to a real circular economy in their COVID-19 stimulus packages.   

The calls come as governments plan measures to boost economic recovery following a global downturn spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.

An open letter set to be published today will call on world leaders to put green stimulus measures at the heart of the recovery package.

The letter calls for an economy where resources are only used if they are 100 percent recyclable or reusable.

A report by the European Commission states investing in a circular economy could create some 700,000 new jobs in Europe alone by 2030.[i]

The letter has been signed by a host of global campaigners including Julie Andersen, Global CEO of Plastic Oceans International, George Monbiot, journalist and environmental activist, and Hugo Tagholm, Chief Executive of Surfers Against Sewage.

Politicians from across Europe have joined the calls, including Alviina Alametsä MEP, Caroline Lucas MP, Barry Gardiner MP, Claudia Beamish MSP and Baroness Bakewell of Hardington.

A raft of international experts including Professor Jeremy Faludi, Delft University of Technology, Professor Raimund Bleischwitz, University College London, and Professor Peter North, University of Liverpool have signed the letter.

Around the world we engage in a linear and semi-circular economy where resources with no or limited recyclability are used. The end-of-life for this waste is typically outside the productive economy and within the natural environment.  

Globally some 744 million tonnes of waste is sent to landfill each year. Less than 15 percent of waste is recycled.

The letter has been spearheaded by the Real Circularity Coalition – a global campaign for a real circular economy.

It reads: “As world leaders look to the economic recovery, short-term carbon-intensive solutions are not the answer.

“Instead creating an economy where resources are only used if they are 100 percent recyclable or reusable represents our best route to a better future.

The letter adds: “A real circular economy could once and for all realise the vision of a world free from the connected problems of runaway climate change and the global waste crisis.”

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