The term is a timely one; many publications, articles and news stories talk about circular economies. But what exactly is it?
The general definition is as follows:
“A system of production, exchange and consumption designed to optimize the use of resources at all stages of the life cycle of a good or service, in a circular logic, while reducing the environmental footprint and contributing to the well-being of individuals and communities.”
We live on credit
Each year, the NGO Global Footprint Network, in partnership with WWF, calculates “Overshoot Day” based on three million statistical data from 200 countries.
By August 2017, we had consumed all that the planet can renew each year. In other words, economic and industrial activities have reached such a stage of production that we consume more each year than the planet can offer us.
In 2000, the day of the overrun was October 1st.
In 2019, the date on which we reached this threshold was July 29. So the trend seems to be increasing.
At the time of this writing, it would actually take 1.75 Earths to support humanity.
What solutions are there to curb the trend?
In the face of this progressive scarcity of natural resources, it is necessary to define and implement strategies to save and reuse these resources. It is then a question of circular economy.
Five circular economy strategies:
1- Economy of functionality: selling the use of a product rather than selling the product itself. The trend is growing, a term frequently used is: Technology As A Service (TAAS).
2- The collaborative economy: it consists in sharing and mutualizing products, technology and goods.
3- Product reconditioning: which consists of repairing, refurbishing used products and reintroducing them into the commercial circuit at a competitive price. This trend can be seen, for example, in E-commerce with refurbished electronic items.
4- Industrial symbiosis: the residues of one company become the raw material of another, located in the same industrial area.
5- Recycling: which consists of transforming raw materials recovered at the end of the cycle in order to be reused in a new production and consumption context.
Solugen and circular economy
Solugen’s technology is part of a circular economy logic.
Whether in the treatment of contaminated water, sludge from aerated ponds or manure, the process allows the recovery of a large percentage of pure water (up to 97% in some cases). At a time when water is an economic issue in many countries, the reuse of treated water contributes to generating savings but also to preserving the environment.
In the case of manure treatment, Solugen’s technology makes it possible to concentrate 85% of the phosphorus in the solid fraction, and thus to better manage its use, contributing to the preservation of soils that in certain regions are saturated with this element. It should also be noted that mineral phosphorus, a product of the mining industry, is a limited resource and its demand is growing. There could be a shortage of this element by the horizon of 2050.
Finally, in the case of liquid manure, for example, Solugen extracts organic fertilizers that have an interesting commercial value, particularly in a context where organic agriculture, which must use organic fertilizers, is becoming increasingly popular.