Waste began in 1760. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, many materials were so scarce that people were forced to reuse and recycle. But with the growth of consumer culture came the rise of waste, and by the 1970s, thanks to the environmental movement, society was being urged to reduce, reuse and recycle.
The "circular economy" is a new concept that places emphasis not just on reuse, but on the entire economic system that produces single-use items. An economic system of closed loops, the
circular economy aims
to eliminate waste and allow resources to be used continually.
In our January newsletter we kick off our 2020 focus topic, Cities and Climate, with a look at German innovations in the circular economy. We feature Recenso, a company perfecting affordable and scalable chemical recycling; Infarm, an urban agriculture startup reducing the impact of food transportation; and Dycle, a startup transforming used diapers into fruit trees. In an interview we talk with Sina Leipold, the youngest junior professor at the University of Freiburg, whose research focuses on
realistic pathways to a circular economy.