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Shrinking Global Circularity Poses Risks to Climate Efforts

Rising material extraction is widening the ‘Circularity Gap’ and impeding efforts to limit the global temperature increase in line with the Paris Agreement, according to a new report by think-tank Circle Economy. Only 7.2% of the virgin materials extracted from the earth each year are recycled and reused, down from 9.1% in 2018, the report said. This means that 90% of materials are either wasted, lost or unavailable for reuse due to being locked into long-lasting buildings and machinery. A circular economy could reverse this trend by reducing material extraction and use by one-third, as well as protecting natural resources and preventing biodiversity loss. To achieve this, the analysis in the report recommends four key circular actions – use less, use longer, use again and make clean – be carried across four key global systems – agrifood, mobility and transport, manufactured goods and consumables, and the built environment. “By implementing these circular solutions, businesses, cities and nations can cut materials use and environmental impacts like GHG while upholding high standards of living,” the report added.

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