Circular Economy and Zero Waste Approach

The circular economy approach, which is considered as a production model that will enable sustainable development to achieve its goals, is expressed as the recycling of waste materials to the economy. In the circular economy approach, it is essential to reduce resource consumption and use of primary raw materials. In this direction, it is important to save water and energy during the production of a product, and to increase the rate of use of recycled materials in production. In addition, necessary actions should be taken to reduce the amount of waste that may arise in all processes from the production of the product to the consumption as much as possible. For this purpose, waste management and zero waste approaches in the circular economy come to the fore.

“Zero Waste”; It is a target defined as a waste management philosophy that includes preventing waste, using resources more efficiently, preventing or minimizing waste generation by reviewing the causes of waste generation, and collecting and recycling waste separately at the source in case of occurrence.

Zero waste, an important concept for the circular economy approach; It is an approach that aims to increase efficiency in resource use, establish an effective waste collection system, reduce the amount of waste generated, prevent waste and ensure waste recycling. Therefore, efforts are being made to spread the “zero waste” approach, which has been adopted by individuals, institutions and municipalities in the world today.

Therefore, determining and monitoring the objectives for waste management is an important part of achieving sustainable development objectives (Wilson et al., 2015: 293). Waste considered as a resource in the circular economy; It is defined as any kind of substance that arises as a result of production, consumption and other activities and is now unnecessary and desired to be removed.

Zero pollution targets for 2030 have been set in the action plan “Towards Zero Pollution in Air, Water and Soil” published by the European Commission. These targets are;

More than 55% of the health effects of air pollution,

30% of discomfort caused by transportation noise,

 25% of air pollution threatening biodiversity,

50% of chemical pesticide use,

50% of the plastic pollution in the seas, 30% of the microplastics spreading to the environment,

It is the reduction of urban solid waste by 50% (European Commission, 2021).

In 2050, it is aimed to reduce air, water and soil pollution to a level that does not harm health and natural ecosystems, to create a non-toxic environment and to respect the limits that the planet can overcome (European Commission, 2021).