Poster Presentation: Moving Towards a Circular Economy: Rethinking Current Waste Disposal Policies in Growth-Oriented Economies

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We’ve all heard about the three R’s, but why is so much emphasis placed on recycling while reduce and reuse are much less focused upon? Economies based on continued positive growth encourage over extraction of natural resources and support a ‘take, make, waste’ attitude in society, where commodities are replaced rather than repaired. Globally, the ability to export domestic products for recycling from one country, or even continent, to another is causing us to rethink policies and legislation around the management of our waste. This poster will review existing literature, relevant legislation and offer policy alternatives that focus on ‘full-cost accounting’ for the production, manufacture, use, and disposal of products. We will also highlight organizations and governments that have embraced leading-edge recycling programs with an emphasis on a closed-loop system. Solutions to current waste management challenges will require changes to existing legislation and the development of new policies, both domestically and globally. Addressing issues in the recycling industry and moving towards a more circular economy can lead to efficient resource management practices and monetary savings. Decision-making, which brings the concepts of reduce and reuse to the forefront, has the potential to initiate a paradigm shift for waste management practices.

Presenters

  • Miranda Floreano, Joel Grandmont, Dustin Lepage, Ben St. Onge-Shank, students from Ecosystem Management Technology Program, Fleming College