Multiple pathways to sustainable development: further evidence of sustainability in practice

The report, entitled Multiple Pathways to Sustainable Development: Further Evidence of Sustainability in Practice begins by looking at Germany’s efforts to introduce a “circular economy”, a system where products, components and resources are designed to be maintained, reused, remanufactured and recycled to reduce the high levels of waste produced by linear economic models of “take, make, dispose”. In many parts of the country, pay-as-you-throw recycling schemes make it cost effective for households to produce less waste. The recycling rate of domestic waste grew from 50 per cent in 2000 to 64 per cent in 2013 while the amount of domestic waste has remained virtually constant over many years. “As a result of its policies, Germany has achieved increasing resource efficiency, high recycling rates, virtually constant waste levels and more than 250,000 jobs in the waste industry,” the report says. “However, despite being a frontrunner in the field, much is left to do to achieve a true circular economy, as the vast majority of raw materials used by German industry continues to be virgin materials (around 14 per cent derives from recovered waste).” The report also looks at Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH), which the country uses instead of GDP to measure its development.