World risks ‘disaster’ as reuse of natural resources declines – by Michael Taylor (Reuters U.S. – January 20, 2020)

KUALA LUMPUR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The proportion of raw materials the world is reusing has fallen, researchers said on Tuesday, warning of a “global disaster” as annual consumption of natural resources rose to 100 billion tonnes for the first time.

Just 8.6% of the 100 billion tonnes of materials – including minerals, metals, fossil fuels and biomass – was put back into service in 2017, said a report by Amsterdam-based social enterprise Circle Economy, using the latest available data.

That compares with 9.1% of materials that were used again two years earlier, when annual consumption was 93 billion tonnes, CEO Harald Friedl told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“For the first time in history, more than 100 billion tonnes of materials are entering the global economy every year,” he said.“We are going from bad to worse in terms of circularity. This is really dramatic news at the beginning of this year, which only points to one thing: action.”

To reduce waste and planet-warming emissions, and keep climate change in check, economies should seek to become “circular” by reusing and recycling products, green groups say.

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