Materials Consumption and Solid Waste
Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School
Chapter 7, Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States (Michael B. Gerrard and John Dernbach, eds.) (ELI Books, 2018 Forthcoming).
14 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2018
Date Written: October 31, 2018
The circular economy represents a powerful new paradigm for materials consumption and solid waste management. Instead of beginning with extraction and ending with waste, the circular economy begins with material already in use, or else material designed for iterative uses, moves through production and consumption, and into waste management, which secures a revived or altered source material, which in turn moves though production and consumption, and so on, over and over again. Achieving significant greenhouse gas reductions in this area requires widespread shifts in production and consumption toward what can be expressed succinctly in a familiar refrain: “reduce, reuse, recycle.” There are a number of legal pathways to achieving emissions reductions through materials consumption and solid waste management. Corporate governance as well as research and development of new materials can play a significant role, and significant advances can be made through regulatory interventions.
Keywords: circular economy, materials consumption, solid waste management
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