Circular Economy for the Energy Transition

Added on - 13 Sep 2019

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ROLE OF ENERGY SECTOR IN THETRANSITION TO A CIRCULAR ECONOMY
Introduction:After the announcement of a circular economy package of the European package,various business leaders have adopted the circular economy due to which many businessmenhave earned profits and reached heights of success. However, there are implications of circulareconomy on environment, employment and growth. Europe has been considered to be verysuccessful in providing high earnings to people. Like the whole economy of the world, Europeaneconomy follows a model caused take make a disposing strategy which inculcates an importantamount of waste. After the initiation of industrial growth in 1800, the European economy hasgenerated enormous prosperity and growth. This has given a good standard of living to thepeople of Europe. It has been seen that using the materials again and managing the design of thereuse can lower down the expenditure of disposal.In the linear system, disposal of a product in landfills means that all its residual energy is lost.When the product is recycled, generally a small amount of energy is saved, however, when theproduct is reused, the energy comes out to be saved is more. The system of reuse of energy is atechnical process and involves a lot of expenditure, however, it is very beneficial and theEuropean Commission has been promoting it.In circular economy concept, the materials are considered to be very significant. On the otherhand, lineal economy does not work on the same lines and material is thrown away afterconsumption. In the energy sector, two materials are considered which biological and technicalmaterials are. Biological materials are easily decomposed by living organisms and on the otherhand, technical materials cannot be decomposed by living organisms[ CITATION BKu15 \l 1033 ].The generation of waste has been reduced by the European economy. Talking about numbers, thewaste in Europe from 2002-12 has been decreased by 25% and the major contribution has beenmade by Norway.1
Walking towards the circular economy, it is beneficial for Europe both environmentally andeconomically.The opportunities are as shown below:1.More focus on the environment: When the waste is managed by the best practices, thegreenhouse gas emissions can be curtailed down. This brings home clean and greenenvironment, making the air and the environment healthy for people. Waste managementhelps to lower down the loss in biodiversity. It is very important to reuse the wastematerials and make the best use of it so that the environment can be made healthier andliving habitat can be improved[ CITATION Mac15 \l 1033 ].2.High competition: A circular economy could bring savings to businesses and consumersthrough improved resource efficiency. A 2015 Ellen MacArthur Foundation reportestimates that by the year 2030, a move towards a circular economy can curtail down netresource expenditure in the EU by €600 billion every year, bringing earnings of around€1.8 trillion annually. Moreover, stringent laws related to the environment can bringhigher income to people and can become a unique selling proposition.3.More opportunities for job: A circular economy has become responsible for bringingopportunities for job. The European commission continuously supports this drive becauseit believes that a circular economy leads to many innovative ideas and hence, the jobsectors can be improved by redesigning the products and materials[ CITATION Zer14 \l1033 ].2
Some of the challenges are stated below: -1.Municipal waste combustion: The waste produced by municipalities adds so much to thepollution of the environment and the harmful elements contained in it can have a longlasting impact on the health of people causing various numbers of diseases which are noteasily curable. A survey report has provided the information that around 20% of thedeaths in the world are due to municipal combustion waste which is a sign that somethingneeds to be done[ CITATION Mac13 \l 1033 ].2.Medical waste incineration: Hospitals generate waste in a huge quantity that comes indifferent categories, for example by experimenting on animals, blood banks, dialysis, etc.Between 70 % and 85 % of the waste generated is not very risky or is usually connectedto medical care which is as good as domestic residue. It pops up generally fromhousekeeping and administrative functions of medical-care entities and also includesresidue which comes out while maintaining the hospitals. The remaining 10-20 % ofmedical-care waste is considered very hazardous and may lead to a number of healthproblems. Around 5% of such waste is by contaminated nature. Other types of waste maybe other toxic gases, toxic drugs, inflammable and radioactive wastes. This is related toinfectious medical-care waste; wastes which we can compare with domestic waste shouldbe strictly dealt with by the waste disposal mechanisms related to municipalities.3.Industrial wood combustion: The waste generated by wood industries is a risky waste andcan be proved fatal for some people, but if we compare this waste with the rest of thecategories, comparatively this is less harmful. Generally, the residential area is awayfrom such combustion, but it proves to be toxic when it gets mixed with the environmentcausing breathing problems, asthma, respiratory problems and even skin problems.3
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