Title: Circular economy: waste-to-wealth, jobs creation, and innovation in the global south

Authors: Katie Conlon; Randika Jayasinghe; Ranahansa Dasanayake

Addresses: Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, Portland State University, 506 SW Mill St., Portland, OR 97201, USA ' Department of Engineering Technology, Faculty of Technology, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka ' Institute for Applied Material Flow Management, Trier University of Applied Sciences, Environmental Campus, Birkenfeld, P.O. Box 1380, 55761 Birkenfeld, Germany

Abstract: Circular economy (CE) is predominantly framed as a means for circulating material streams within the technosphere as economically as possible, for as long as possible, in both applications of theory and practice. Arising from requirements for regulatory compliance, some global north industries have ventured into CE, and now this model is making headway in all industrial sectors, whereas, in the global south, CE has been conceptualised as a mechanism for keeping materials out of the waste streams otherwise destined to reach landfills, waterways etc. CE indicates pathways for industries and civic society to transit to a more sustainable economy, to reduce or eliminate waste through development of new business models, eco-designs, and sustainable consumption and production strategies. Presented herein are the lessons learned from the CE-based waste-to-wealth projects in Sri Lanka with an emphasis on the cultural, economic, and structural roadblocks faced by the micro-social entrepreneurs in this field.

Keywords: circular economy; plastic waste; global south; waste prevention and management; upcycling; Sri Lanka; waste-to-wealth; bottom-up circular economy; micro-social entrepreneurs; green jobs.

DOI: 10.1504/WRSTSD.2019.099377

World Review of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development, 2019 Vol.15 No.2, pp.145 - 159

Received: 31 Oct 2018
Accepted: 03 Nov 2018

Published online: 24 Apr 2019 *

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