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Address environmental threats by addressing the problem of waste

Sponsored: The world needs to focus on more innovative approaches to building a circular economy if it is to truly address environmental threats.


This article is sponsored by Rubicon.

It is impossible to address environmental threats without addressing the problem of waste. The world produces more than 2 billion metric tons of municipal solid waste each year — a figure estimated to grow by 70 percent by 2050.

However, many people do not think their trash can be an environmental hazard. To change this trajectory, businesses and societies need to focus on more recycling, more reduction of waste at its source, better and more efficient handling of waste and more innovative approaches to building a circular economy, which encourages and rewards the reuse of natural resources and human-made materials, at scale.

Society is still far from achieving a circular economy. According to one estimate, the global economy is only 8.6 percent circular, down from 9.1 percent circular in 2021.

Circularity is also critical to achieving net-zero targets, which a growing share of businesses and governments have set out to achieve. Fifty-five percent of emissions can be reduced using renewable energy and energy efficiency, while the remainder would be achieved through circular practices in manufacturing and food production.

Joining The Climate Pledge

In December 2020, Rubicon, a digital marketplace for waste and recycling, and provider of innovative software-based solutions to businesses and governments worldwide, signed The Climate Pledge, co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism, committing to regular reporting and measuring of greenhouse gas emissions, carbon elimination and neutralizing any remaining emissions to achieve net-zero annual carbon emissions by 2040. Since the creation of The Climate Pledge in 2019, a growing number of major companies and organizations have signed on to join. These businesses are committed to improving our environment and will play a critical role in stimulating investment in the development of low-carbon products and services.

The roadmap to net-zero and our efforts will be focused on three critical areas of opportunity:

  • Continuing to reduce landfill dependence: We aim to remove hundreds of thousands of metric tons of carbon dioxide from annual emissions through recycling and other landfill alternatives. Doing so will take planning, innovation and cooperation with our customers.
  • Promoting circular economy practices and infrastructure: Recycling and circularity are critical to the goal of ending waste as we know it. By connecting producers of recyclable materials to companies using these materials to create new products, recyclable users to recyclable producers and their materials, we aim to be the market maker of the circular economy.
  • Decarbonizing the hauler and recycling network: With greater efficiency, the use of alternative fuels and other measures, we believe we can turn an emissions-intensive activity into one with a neutral emissions impact.

As Rubicon works toward achieving its net-zero goal, it will by extension enable its customers to reduce their Scope 3, Category 5 emissions from waste generated in operations. These Scope 3 emissions from waste are often one of the most challenging hurdles to achieving net-zero emissions and therefore an area where Rubicon can play an important role.

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