The Environmental Footprint and the Circular Economy
06 May 2023
At the 4th Lightweighting Summit ‘Lightweight Construction 2.0 in the Circular Economy’ (HANNOVER MESSE Veranstaltungsreihe 2023: 4. Lightweighting Summit ‘Leichtbau 2.0 in der Circular Economy’) that took place at the Hannover Fair 2023 and, at the 24th International Conference on Wear of Materials 2023 in Canada, this topic was boarded by different specialists including our ELB colleagues on their WOM presentation.
What is an environmental footprint?
An environmental footprint refers to the effect a company, person or activity has on the environment. For companies to be correctly measured, it must consider the entire life circle of a product (How light will it be, how high is the carbon print, are the materials used recyclable, etc.).
The environmental footprint of a product starts in its design and development phase (80% of the footprint depends on this stage), then, when the product is created, next, how it is used and finally, the end of its life.
What is a circular economy model?
A circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible.
The keyword here is “Material Efficiency", it reduces our need for natural resources and lowers our production waste.
What do we need for a sustainable circular economy?
The most important thing is to reduce resources. Efficiency is an important factor to meet the needs of our customers, but this requires political support, but also a society in which we need to change our thinking from quantity to quality. We should be able to use products for as long as possible without losing their quality.
How is it at ELB?
Our CERANOD® technologies play a huge role in sustainability and the circular economy – especially because we can refine cast aluminum and the material can be recycled with the surface at the end of its life.
We think that reusability, recyclability, and durability will help make sustainable products the future norm and we are already a part of that.