September 28th, 2018

The circular economy: inspiration or buzz phrase?

by Caroline Campbell   Is the circular economy something new, or is it just the latest buzz phrase? And how much does this matter when we start trying to apply its resource management principles in practice? These questions were surprisingly prominent in a UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) event I recently attended in Bristol. The […]


December 18th, 2017

Are some countries cheating on their recycling rate?

Global Recycling Map

by Rob Gillies and Peter Jones   Eunomia recently published the second issue of ‘Recycling – Who Really Leads the World?’, a study that tries to compare on an equal footing the countries that claim the highest recycling rates in the world. It explains why comparing reported recycling rates at face-value is potentially misleading; and […]


May 5th, 2017

Grounds for concern: the problem of coffee capsules

by Mark Hilton and Daniel Card   With an estimated two billion cups consumed every day, coffee is one of the world’s most popular drinks and has been the fuel for countless projects, essays – and Isonomia blogs. In the UK, the average person consumes 1.7kg of coffee per year. This is less than residents […]


March 17th, 2017

Current electrics: WEEE and the circular economy

by Mary Biron-Tolentino   The UK is one of the world’s biggest spenders on consumer electronics. According to WRAP, British households and businesses buy around 1.4 million tonnes of electrical and electronic equipment each year.  In financial terms, average spending is around £800 per household, and this continues to grow, despite economic uncertainties and slow […]


June 10th, 2016

Resource plumbing: plugging the leaks in the circular economy

by Ad Lansink   Zero waste, Cradle to Cradle design and the Circular Economy are all great concepts, presenting attractive targets to work towards. However, their ultimate feasibility is another matter. As we use and recycle products, won’t there always be some loss of material? Across different technological and biological chains, time and time again […]


February 19th, 2016

Does waste have a future?

By Dominic Hogg and Mark Hilton   When the institutional economist Thorstein Veblen coined the phrase ‘conspicuous consumption’ in the late nineteenth century, it was as a caustic term saved for the very rich. In particular, it referred to the glittering socialites born of the Industrial Revolution, who Veblen saw as wanting and wasting in […]


January 29th, 2016

Advisory note: packaging industry opposition to producer responsibility

by Chris Sherrington   Earlier this week I skimmed through an old Guardian article about ‘corporate welfare’ – which reported analysis suggesting that taxpayers hand businesses £93bn a year (more than £3,500 per household) in the form of subsidies, direct grants and tax breaks. While I didn’t delve too deeply, the thrust of the argument […]