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Better Solid Waste Management (SWM) in a circular economy

Written by: Jessica Wright


In a circular economy, recycling keeps waste materials out of landfills. Instead, the materials are available for valuable repurposing and reuse.

Plastic packaging is seen along grocery store aisles, worldwide. One of the largest consumer products companies, Unilever, brings familiar brands to about 190 countries. In the U.S., their Dove, Hellmann’s, and Seventh Generation brands are packaged in Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) plastic. They have a goal of collecting and processing more plastic than is used in packaging their products.

Unilever’s circular economy achievement will divert 60,000 metric tons of plastic from landfills each year, beginning in 2025.[1]

The World Resources Institute recommends considering these strategies[2] in sequence, to unlock the value of a circular economy:

  • REFUSE the item to prevent materials from being used.
  • REDUCE the amount of resources used.
  • RE-USE the product in a new way.
  • REPAIR and maintain the product.
  • REFURBISH the product, gaining additional useful life for it.
  • REMANUFACTURE the product into a different product.
  • RE-PURPOSE the product, claiming additional value from it.
  • RECYCLE the raw materials that the product contains.
  • RECOVER energy from the waste.


[2] – World Resources Institute