Circular economy will never take off unless we address hazardous chemicals in recycled materials
The classic image of a factory chimney clouded in smoke, polluting our world, is becoming more and more dated. Don’t get me wrong, there are still a lot of chimneys around the world causing problems – but nowadays many have instead turned the focus towards products. Or the contents of products, to be more precise, since our clothes, home appliances and other everyday products still contain hazardous chemicals.
At the same time, our interest in recycling – turning old products into new ones – is growing by the day. But how much of the material is actually usable, not just from an economic standpoint but also from the perspective of health and the environment? The so-called circular economy has already been a hot topic for years for the political elite, so what will it take to actually make the vision real?
“Looking at design and production, and what the barriers for a circular economy are, it always comes down to hazardous chemicals”
There’s a big ol’ elephant in the room that many people in love with the concept of circular economy seem to miss. It will be very apparent though if you discuss the concept with the people who are actually going to make it happen: the manufacturing companies of the world.
Looking at design and production, and what the barriers for a circular economy are, it always comes down to hazardous chemicals.
Increasingly, downstream users are realising that hazardous substances mean exposing customers to a risk – or a perceived risk, which can be just as devastating for the brand. Many companies see that trying to exclude hazardous substances completely from their products is the most profitable and smartest way going forward.
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