Each year, the extraction of raw materials from the earth’s crust becomes more and more difficult.  As we exhaust easily accessible reserves of minerals and metals, mining companies must dig ever deeper to get more.  Growing demand for bio-based chemicals and materials also exerts its toll on nature.

Yet, the global economy will continue to demand raw materials, even as societies become more sustainable.  Solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries will help us wean off fossil fuels, but their production will require a dramatic increase in the extraction of metals and rare-earth minerals, with real ecological and social costs.

Innovation will, of course, improve resource efficiency and efforts will continue at the front-end of the production process to design waste out of the system.  In addition to innovation, however, the increased use of materials belonging to the anthroposphere (i.e., everything made by people – from smartphones to clothing to skyscrapers) as feedstock for a circular economy is widely seen as our best shot at limiting the use of virgin raw materials and lowering the impact of traditional sourcing, which has already become a big driver of deforestation, ecosystem collapse, and biodiversity loss around the world.

Collecting and recovering these secondary raw materials is not without its issues.  EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) schemes can help, but only when producers are directly involved in the recovery process (i.e., the producer takes full responsibility for the physical collection of the good rather than paying the cost of managing the waste).

Speakers:

16h00 – 16h10 :

Welcome & Introduction – Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP, President GLOBE EU

16h10 – 16h20 :

Meeting Demand for Raw Materials in a Circular Economy – Dr. Ester van der Voet, Associate Professor Industrial Ecology, University of Leiden, and Member, International Resource Panel

16h20 – 16h30 :

Recycling Schemes for Consumer Electronics and Cars, a Different Approach – Kurt Vandeputte, Senior Vice President Government Affairs, Umicore

16h30 – 16h40 :

EPR Schemes for the Building and Construction Sector – Myriam Tryjefaczka, Sustainability and Public Affairs Director EMEA, Tarkett

16h40 – 16h50 :

A New Business Ecosystem for Mattress Recycling – Lucie Porcelli, Business Sustainability Leader EMEAI, Dow

16h50 – 17h00 :

Circular Fashion: Securing a Market for Secondary Raw Materials – Pascale Moreau, Sustainability Department H&M Group

17h00 – 17h20 :

Discussion

17h20 – 17h30 :

Conclusion – Martin Hojsík MEP, Vice-President GLOBE EU