• Sun. Oct 2nd, 2022

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How to cut material use in buildings, clothes, electronics and plastic

A sustainable future means using less stuff more wisely – but politicians aren’t yet grasping the nettle, says the head of the UN International Resource Panel

Environment 9 February 2022

Fashionable modern woman on landfill, consumerism versus pollution concept.

Halfpoint/Getty Images

The average human uses a vast amount of materials. Well over 10 tonnes of new stuff is created for each person on the planet each year in the form of buildings, consumer items and fuel and food. In our current linear “extract-use-dispose” economy, under 10 per cent of that total is currently recycled. Doing more with less stuff, and making the linear economy more circular by recycling and reusing stuff, is crucial to living more sustainably (see “The end of waste: The grand plan to build a truly circular economy”). Here’s how we do it in four key sectors. …