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From Industrial Ecology to Circular Economy 11/05/2021

In an article published in the Magazine "Ágora", by the Environmental Engineering student group at Técnico (NEEA), Paulo Ferrão addresses the issue of Urban Metabolism, which determines the way and the level with which we use natural resources, transform them into materials and products, and waste of different types, similar to a living organism, which ingests food, processes it to develop its activities and produces different residues.
We currently are living in a paradigm of linear economy, in which we extract resources from nature, convert them into products that turn into waste and pollution of which, in EU by 2017, only 10% were transformed into raw materials to be reintroduced into the production cycle.
Industrial Ecology is dedicated to understanding this metabolism of society and contributing to an industry capable of mimicking ecosystems, where the originated residues can be incorporated into the manufacture of other products, making the production process more efficient and with reduced impact.
The teaching of Industrial Ecology started at Técnico since 2002, from which many activities and institutions emerged to promote sustainable development and circular economy. The circular economy is not an end in itself, but a means to minimize the use of resources, and consequently, the environmental impacts, which must be demonstrated in each specific situation.
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