UN pushes to reduce and reuse raw materials

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The United Nations (UN) has urged the world to slow down on the rapid consumption of raw materials and cut waste by recycling. It is estimated that the global resource consumption will double by 2060, especially with the rapid rate of expansion of developing economies.“We are using the planet’s resources at a faster rate than they can be replenished, while polluting our seas, air and countryside with waste from our consumption habits,” says executive director of the UN Environment Programme Erik Solheim.

Cities will be stretched in the future

Governments, cities and businesses have been facing increasing pressure to reduce waste in recent years. A global war on single-use plastic has been taking place and nations are pushing to reach ambitious climate goals, as outlined in the Paris Agreement.The UN predicts that two-thirds of the global population will be living in cities by 2050, which means that waste management and resource consumption will need innovation and drastic change to be able to cater to the population.The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicts that the consumption of metals, sand, coal and natural minerals will increase to 167 gigatonnes in 2060 - up from 90 gigatonnes today. Along with this increase comes an incline of climate-changing emissions released into the atmosphere from the extraction, processing and use of natural resources.

UN pushes for circular economies

A circular economy is the best way forward, according to the UN. Reusing raw materials and repairing existing goods will drastically reduce waste and keep carbon emissions to a minimum. A circular economy also promotes environmentally-friendly practices in all sectors and can boost job creation.“The traditional manufacturing model, where we make, use, and then dispose of a product is both wasteful and polluting,” says Solheim. “If we rethink this and move towards a more circular model where a product is used and then re-used, we retain the value of the materials and resources used to make that product," Solheim suggests.___Averda is a leading waste management provider with over 50 years of experience across three continents. Through growth, transformation and engagement, we strive to find new ways of managing waste while protecting the community and environment. ___By pairing international expertise with local insights, we have secured our position as one of South Africa’s most respected providers of waste management and industrial cleaning services. We also operate in the recycling, pipe inspection, CCTV, infrastructure inspection, hydro-demolition, high-pressure water jetting and catalyst handling industries. ___Follow us Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for the best tips on recycling and the latest industry news. See our Instagram and YouTube channels for more insights into environmental affairs and our work with local communities.