Circular Materials Conference #CircMatConf

A cool conference hosted by Nordic Publishing and Chalmers Competence Center Recycling right at Chalmers University, Gothenburg, Sweden.

The big takeaway in short: COMMUNICATION! Now it’s time to turn attention to really looking into details on how better communication can be done. First step could be: how to get a good overview of all the sectors in the entire economy/ sector/ city/ company in order to identify who should really start communicating with whom.

Here are some other interesting points from the talks and discussions in summary…

Gunter Pauli, author and initiator of The Blue Economy

We are giving metal recycling too much priority. The margin of improvement at the recycling stage is not that big while the mining stage has arguably the largest environmental impact. Only 2% of the extracted content is actually desired metal, and the rest 98% are causing air pollution and etc. We are addressing such issues too slowly because we are too confined in our own sectors. People in the mining sector see the stones and dirt as waste but didn’t know that they can be used to make paper with the technology nowadays.

Key points:

  • pay attention to the life cycle of the materials
  • think hard about priority
  • communication communicatin communication

Rasmus Bergström, CEO Stena Technoworld

We should connect the dots between various life cycle stages of the products, especially the recylcing and design engineers.

Christina Lindbäck, Corporate Sustainability Manager, NCC AB

  • Decisions for reuse need to be made at an earlier stage.
  • The challenge is “match-making” between the supply and demand.
  • The construction sector should see sustainability as a business opportunity.

Marianne Hedberg, Sveriges Byggindustrier/ The Swedish Construction Federation

  • Mistakes were made in the past with materials like mercury, asbesto, cadmium, CFC and etc, which had long lasting effects to the environment and public health. So now guidelines have been developed to help companies with the legislations on the materials they use.
  • Pre-demolition audit: deep knowledge of construction materials is required to audit and to come up with treatment methods.
  • Information is key.

Norbert Zonneveld, Executive Secretary, European Electronics Recycling Association (EERA)

  • E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the EU.
  • Large amount of E-waste is undocumented. About half ends up being exported to developing countries.
  • 3oo to 600 million euros is lost due to bad behavior, 200 to 500 million euros is lost due to scavenging.

Karl Edsjö, Director resource policy and recycling, Electrolux

Regarding using more recycled plastic in product: it’s good to start with non-visible and non-technically demanding parts

Magnus Borelius, Head of Group Treasury, the City of Gothenburg

Financing a sustainable city with green bonds:inspiration for innovative financing methods.

The treasury department were working on sustaiability reporting after first releasing the green bonds, then realizing the city’s sustainability department have been working on this kind of reporting. So again, communication!

Technological innovation companies:

Refind Technology: optical battery sorter.

Scandinavian Enviro Systems: recycle carbon black from old tires (to 100% in theory).

Swerea KIMAB: use laser to identify and separate metals