4 July 2022 | 5 minutes.

Waste Has No Nation – Will the Circular Economy Change That?

Photo: Vianet Ramos, Unsplash

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Sören Bauer
President - Revolve Circular

Sören Bauer, President - Revolve Circular

Limitations of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) require a more global approach to waste management.

In the latter half of the 18th century, largely rural, agrarian societies in Europe and America transformed into industrialized, urban ones. New machines and techniques in textiles, iron-making and other industries produced goods – that had previously been crafted by hand – in large quantities. This industrial mass production enabled societies to gradually overcome scarcities of food, shelter and clothing. “What is wrong with this?” asked Walter Stahel, Swiss architect and author of ‘The Performance Economy,’ in one of our past interviews. “Manufacturers only optimize production flows up to the point of sale, where both ownership and liability of objects are transferred to the buyer, who later passes the responsibility for derelict objects and ‘waste’ to the municipality,” he explained. In other words: Responsibility for products and what they become is first passed from the producer to the buyer, and subsequently to society.