Investing for a Circular World

We need to shift to a Waste-to-X mentality. In other words, designing products and systems that eliminate the concept of “waste” altogether.

The Issue — And The Possibility

Source: Environmental Science and Technology, 2021. “Uncertain Future of American Lithium: A Perspective until 2050”. Graphic title: Cumulative gross and net demand for the four scenarios against U.S. lithium reserves.

Principles for a Circular World

  • Biological nutrients — these are materials or molecules that can be consumed by microorganisms or fungi. Biological nutrients are food for the biosphere. For example, mycelium-based packaging that can be fully composted with food waste is a biological material that can be renewed.
  • Technical nutrients — these are materials or molecules that can be used in industrial processes, or the technosphere. For example, lithium in a battery that can be extracted at the battery’s end of life and used in a new battery is a technical material that can’t be renewed but it can be recycled.
Source: Nature Sustainability, 2020.

How Technology Is Accelerating the Circular Economy Transition

Our Focus Areas for 2022

  1. High waste generation rates
  2. Low recovery rates of waste
  3. High sector emissions rates
EU number is goal for 2025. US recovery rates: All US EPA,2018 besides Li-Ion from US DOE, 2019. EU recovery rates: Eurostat, 2021 (plastics); FUSIONS EU 2016 (food); Eurostat, 2018 (C&D waste); European Parliament, 2021 (apparel); European Commission, 2020 (Li-ion). GHG Emission rates: Center for International Environmental Law, 2019 and Time, 2021 (plastics); Nature, 2021 (food); McKinsey, 2021 (apparel)

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