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Editor in Chief: RAFFAELLO COSSU

HOW TO INCREASE CIRCULARITY IN THE SWISS ECONOMY?

  • Cecilia Matasci - Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Empa, Switzerland
  • Marcel Gauch - Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Empa, Switzerland
  • Heinz Boeni - Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Empa, Switzerland

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Copyright: © 2020 CISA Publisher


Abstract

Environmental threats are triggered by the overconsumption of raw materials. It is therefore necessary to move towards a society that both reduces extraction and keeps the majority of the extracted raw materials in the socio-economic system. Circular economy is a key strategy to reach these goals. To implement it effectively, it is necessary to understand and monitor material flows and to define hotspots, i.e. materials that need to be tackled with the highest priority. This paper is aimed at determining how to increase circularity in the Swiss economy by means of a Material Flow Analysis coupled with a simplified Life Cycle Assessment. After having characterized material flows, we analyzed two types of hotspots: i) Raw materials consumed and/or disposed at high level, and ii) Raw materials whose extraction and production generates high environmental impacts. The Material Flow Analysis shows that each year 119 Mt of raw materials enter the Swiss economy. Therefrom, 15 Mt are derived from recycled waste inside the country; 67 Mt leave the system yearly; 27 Mt towards disposal. Out of the disposed materials, 56% are recycled and re-enter the socio-economic system as secondary materials. Looking at hotspots; concrete, asphalt, gravel and sand are among materials that are consumed and disposed at high level. Yet, looking at greenhouse gas emissions generated during extraction and production, metals - including the ones in electrical and electronic equipment - as well as textiles are among the categories that carry the biggest burden on the environment per unit of material.

Keywords


Editorial History

  • Received: 03 Jul 2020
  • Revised: 15 Oct 2020
  • Accepted: 25 Nov 2020
  • Available online: 26 Feb 2021

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