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Present Day Cases of Circularity Initiatives
November 6, 2020
| Mariana Arias Sanz

Mariana Arias Sanz, Content Contributor

Circular economies have been quickly rising as experts and business managers realize the impacts circularity has on financial savings and environmental preservation. Companies are understanding how their upfront investments on resource efficiency and waste reduction can cut hundreds of thousands of dollars from their expenditures as well as improve their relationship with other businesses and clients through their sustainable stewardship. A few of the industries that have been actively seeking circularity in their products and services, are in the medical, food, fashion, construction, energy, water/sanitation, mining, and battery industries, however there are countless more getting involved in these initiatives.

Antos Environmental

One such company is Antos Environmental, which specializes in helping hospitals worldwide to significantly elevate their sustainability and resource management performance. Founder and CEO Tony Schifano shared that, using only a handful of clients as a sample, $50 million US dollars were saved for their clients and 100,000 tons of waste was diverted from landfills. Over 25 years of relations, some of Antos’ partners include Columbia Presbyterian/Cornell, NYU Medical Center, Yale New Haven, Mt. Sinai (NYC), Christian Health, Washington Hospital Center, DC Hospital Association, The Environmental Protection Bureau in Shanghai, China, and more.

Doctor’s Center Hospital Case Study

Thomas Jefferson University Case Study

After partnering with Antos, The Mount Sinai Medical Center now thinks more carefully about what it buys, how they use it, and what will happen at the end of its utilization. Antos has helped Mount Sinai to monitor their sustainability efforts, drive down costs, and maintain the initiative energized to ensure prolonged improvements and of their resource management. The hospital has saved $600,000 annually in waste disposal costs by partnering with Antos. They also report one of the lowest red bag waste volumes in the nations; only 5% of their waste. Antos has successfully maintained these low volumes and costs for over five years while the organization continued to grow.

Gravitas Infinitum

Another company that has been highly invested in circular projects across many industries. Company Director Tyler Wood states that Gravitas has the vision, scope and scale to peer into the future, implementing proven technology that involved eliminating plastic waste from our landfills and waterways, to bio-remediating bad water, and the most efficient form of carbon capture. They are supporting circular economies by producing organic biomaterials from plastic waste and bad water with outputs that include bioplastics, paper, textiles, food, nutraceuticals, pharma, and renewable fuels. Wood describes the company as a multi-billion-dollar, closed loop biomaterials production platform project which is also a green circular ecosystem by removing carbon and transforming plastic waste into reusable energy.

The Southwest Florida High-Density BioFactory (HDBF) is the first facility in a development of six campuses within the American Gravitas Impact Project (AGIP), which creates over 12,000 jobs in the State of Florida and it serves as a blueprint for expansion into other states. Each campus will provide sustainable solutions to a number of problems, including waste plastic conversion, water remediation through bio-natural resource purification, carbon credit origination, generation of renewable energy, high density bio-factories (automated vertical farming), and biomaterial production. Gravitas is also invested in the hemp industry, including a facility to test materials and genetics.

Tier 1 Asset Management

In the United Kingdom, Tier 1 Asset Management is doing extraordinary work in the field of electronic waste, or “e-waste”, by ensuring secure and ethical disposal of end-of-lifecycle IT equipment, with a strong emphasis on re-use of assets in their original form. According to Bev Benham, the Partner Account Director, T1 guarantees data security and demonstrable, innovative CSR opportunities based on the sustainable re-use of ex-corporate IT. They refurbish electronics which would be otherwise sent to landfills and give them a second life to promote education and productivity, as well as their resale for those who cannot afford to purchase unaltered electronics.

In 2019, T1 received The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in the category of promoting opportunity through social mobility for their “Through the Gate” initiative. Through their partnership with HMP Forest Bank prison in Salford, any IT assets that Tier 1 cannot re-use are processed by inmates of the Category B prison. Previously, these assets would be transported to recycling partners who used expensive machines to break down, separate, and smelt them. Now this is being undertaken by prisoners, who benefit from the training, qualification, and work experience provided in this partnership. Some of the revenue generated through this process of breakdown and resale of materials is donated to Antz Network, a charity involved in the rehabilitation of ex-offenders and long-term unemployed individuals, providing training, support, and personal development.

Li-Cycle

Li-Cycle is on a mission to leverage its innovative solution to address an emerging and urgent global challenge. As stated by President and CEO, Ajay Kochar, lithium-ion rechargeable batteries are increasingly powering our world in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications. The world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.

Li-Cycle’s Spoke & Hub Technologies – low cost, safe, and environmentally friendly processes – can recycle all types of lithium-ion batteries, with an unparalleled recovery rate of ≥95% of all materials. Li-Cycle’s industry-leading innovations make it uniquely positioned to support a key element of the growing international movement towards zero carbon technologies.

Institute for Local Self-Resilience

The Institute for Local Self-Resilience aims to help create thriving, diverse, and equitable communities by building local power to fight corporate control. ILSR works to achieve this through five key initiatives that center local communities, giving citizens authority, capacity, and responsibility to exercise power over their lives. These initiatives are energy democracy, community broadband network, independent business, waste to wealth, and composting for community.

ILSR is invested in a number of initiatives to help empower local communities, including banking, composting, energy, business independence, and waste to wealth. Neil Seldman, Director of ILSR, shared his enthusiasm for more efficient and resource and waste management; including properly implemented extended producer responsibility (EPR), minimum recycled content for products sold, taxes on packaging, and carbon taxes to increase the value of materials.

Company Websites:

Antos Environmental https://www.antosinc.com/
Gravitas Infinitum https://www.gravitasinfinitum.com/
Tier 1 Asset Management https://www.tier1.com/
Li-Cycle https://www.li-cycle.com/
Institute for Local Self-Resilience https://ilsr.org/

Mariana Arias Sanz
Mariana Arias Sanz
Mariana is a graduate from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s in Sustainability and a master’s in Urban and Regional Planning. She is a planner by profession, having worked in both private and public sectors. Her international background has contributed to her multicultural outlook on sustainability matters, including solid waste management, sustainable urban redevelopment, densification of cities, smart cities, and encouraging active transportation through planning. Her passion for sustainability and the environment began at an early age, motivating her to pursue the creation of a holistic relationship between people and where they live.