This whitepaper is published as part of the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE), a public‑private collaboration mechanism and project accelerator dedicated to bringing about the circular economy at speed and scale.
The whitepaper examines the plastics packaging and consumer electronics industries. It looks at how Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies are used today, and what could be possible in the near future to manage our resources better. The report illustrates 19 Fourth Industrial Revolution solutions that can be applied to accelerate the circular transition in the plastics packaging and consumer electronics sectors. These range from the Internet of Materials and AI‑based design tools through to hyper‑intelligent sorting and disassembly supported by machine vision and robotics.
To make the consumer electronics and plastics packaging value chains more circular, there are five major challenges that must be overcome. The analysis has also shown that innovators are already building solutions around the new and emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Even in demanding settings these technologies – applied in an interoperable way – can help to develop more sustainable waste management systems. To unleash the full potential of 4IR technologies, however, and make the next steps towards completely circular economies in both industries, three things need to happen:
With regard to separation of food scraps for composting, this research identified that there are two important aspects often overlooked when the focus is only on behaviour: 1. Policy makers need to ensure that there are socio-technical systems supporting diverse groups of people...Read more
Australia's Chief Scientist Alan Finkel points out, in this interview, the need for Australia to develop better storage systems and reflects on the recent report from ACOLA. California Energy Commissioner Andrew McAllister, also warns Australia to pursue demand side...Read more
Industry misconceptions around high cost and poor market interest in energy efficient homes continue to obstruct the mass adoption of low carbon housing. Josh’s House demonstrates that low carbon housing is accessible and cost effective. The Star Performers series showcases how...Read more
The report reveals the annual value of global e-waste as over $62.5 billion, more than the GDP of most countries. It calls for an overhaul of the current electronics system, emphasising the need for a circular economy in which resources are not extracted, used and discarded, but valued and reused in ways that minimise environmental impacts and create decent, sustainable jobs.
The European Commission authorized a study to support the identification of the best practices that contribute to a Circular Economy in extractive waste management plans (EWMPs). This document is the first deliverable of this study, the guidance document focusing on:
The analysis served to, assess what extent EU policy tools addressing products are supporting circular, sustainable products. The analysis found there is potential for further strengthening the policies, especially as concerns the circular design of products such as textiles and furniture. Also, more could be done to support consumers and circular sectors such as reuse and repair.