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The circular economy also introduces challenges

Tiina Roine (info a nordkalk.com), 22 September 2021

The circular economy is an expansive concept; it means moving from a linear consumption model to sharing, renting, and recycling. In a circular economy, materials are utilised efficiently and sustainably, and they remain in circulation safely for a long time.

The circular economy has enormous potential, and it offers solutions for curbing climate change, the use of natural resources, and the loss of nature. Nordkalk is committed to promoting the circular economy in its own operations: our goal is 100% material efficiency and maximum utilisation of the by-products of our own and those of our clients’ production.

We invite our customers, lawmakers and decision makers to join us on the journey

The circular economy has nearly infinite potential, but the transition to this new model is by no means entirely without its complications. 

1) The availability of circular economy products does not always coincide with the market's demands in terms of timing or logistics. We prepare for availability challenges by ensuring that alternatives to our circular economy solutions can also be found through the use of virgin raw materials. We are also developing various interim storage solutions to prepare for upticks in demand. Storage raises the cost of a product, but it unfortunately is not always valued. The environmental benefits alone are often not enough to motivate people to choose circular economy products.

2) One challenge of side streams is also in the potential for greater quality variance when compared to a virgin product. Sometimes the market is not ready to accept a circular economy product, e.g. on suspicion of poor quality or excessive quality variance. We strive to minimise these risks by monitoring the quality of the side streams we use. If necessary, we can smooth out quality fluctuations by using small amounts of virgin raw material in the process.

3) We still hope for support from legislators to strengthen the circular economy and facilitate the productisation and utilisation of materials previously only deemed waste – without compromising safety, of course.

4) In addition, the public sector must anticipate and resolutely create a framework in which circular economy business models have the potential to develop and companies to succeed. In the simplest terms, this may mean, e.g. regionally favouring the utilization of the side rock generated in the area in civil engineering, or promoting ways to make the most efficient use of the side streams generated in the area.

Annica Lindfors, Nordkalk’s Circular Economy Director

Leader in Northern Europe

Nordkalk is the leading limestone company in Northern Europe. We deliver essential raw materials to numerous industries, and our solutions contribute to clean air and water as well as productivity of agricultural land.