Best practices for a circular economy

Best practices for a circular economy

A new report looks at how companies in key industries are reducing waste while driving economic growth. The report, published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, includes a case on Xylem’s water reuse project for Silicon Valley. Read on to find out how a circular economy can provide both environmental and financial gains.

“Today’s linear economy – in which, quite simply, natural resources are extracted from the ground, made into products, used, and thrown away – was highly successful in delivering economic development during the 20th century,” writes Jennifer Gerholdt, Director, Environment Program, Corporate Citizenship Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, in the introduction to the report.

“However, global trends indicate that the traditional, linear model’s ability to produce economic growth is being increasingly challenged, prompting a search for alternative approaches that can work in the long term,” she continues.

According to the report, the circular economy is a system that aims to design out waste.

“It looks at all options across the entire chain in order to use as few resources as possible in the first place, keep those resources in circulation for as long as possible, extract as much value from those resources, and then recover and regenerate those materials and products at the end of that particular useful life,” Gerholdt writes.

The report presents a collection of best practices for how companies are profitably leveraging the environmental, economic and social opportunities the circular economy provides.

Reusing water in California

In its chapter on Manufacturing, the report looks at a case in northern California where Xylem technology was used in a water reuse system. In San Jose, the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) faced diminished rainfall, a depleted aquifer basin, and near-empty recharge ponds. Nevertheless, new water supplies were needed to maintain economic vitality for the growing Silicon Valley community and economy.

The district decided to build the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center, the first of its kind in northern California. This state-of-the-art facility produces 8 million gallons per day of treated water, using Xylem’s Wedeco LBX Series for UV disinfection. The facility has successfully expanded non-potable water supplies for irrigation and industrial uses, and reduced the region’s dependency on imported water.

“Xylem is dedicated to solving the most complex water challenges, and we believe that water reuse is an essential contributor to a water-secure future,” writes Abigail Antolovich, North America Reuse Business Development Manager, Xylem. “We also remain committed to increasing public awareness and understanding of these global water challenges so we can all move toward more sustainable practices.”

Download the full U.S. Chamber of Commerce report here:

by Simon