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Perspectives on the Circular Economy

Posted on 24 January 2020

In his recent Perspectives article in Science, 'Rethinking chemistry for a circular economy', Professor James Clark explores the use and re-use of chemical products in the modern age.

Introducing the topic, Professor Clark writes: "We are running out of some of the resources needed for the manufacturing of many of the products used in today’s society, and those that are left are available only at increasing economic and environmental costs.

"As an important contribution to a sustainable future, chemistry and its products must be adapted to a circular economy - a system aimed at eliminating waste, and using and recycling products and resources.

"However, our products and the chemicals that make them work are becoming more complex. Plastics, for example, often consist of more than one polymer along with several additives, such as plasticisers, flame-retardants, colouring agents and antioxidants, which are often hazardous and difficult to separate in recycling."

In the new Science Perspectives article, James Clark and his colleagues Klaus Kümmerer and Vania Zuin argue that a new set of guidelines are needed to help integrate chemistry into the circular economy. Complexity is the enemy of circularity!

Professor James Clark is Director of the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (GCCE).

The full piece is available to read on the Science Magazine website.