Cash from trash: could it clean up the world?

The world is facing a growing waste problem, with 2bn tonnes produced last year alone. Is it possible to clean up this mess by turning trash into cash?

Dr Clare Richardson-Barlow, Research Fellow in the School of Chemical and Process Engineering (SCAPE), features in The Economist’s video ‘Cash from trash: could it clean up the world’, speaking about waste management and sustainable transitions in the Asia-Pacific.

Dr Richardson-Barlow cautions against placing too much faith in recycling or upcycling: " terms of looking at how we manage waste we need to remove this idea of a silver bullet altogether. There is no single technical solution that is going to fix everything. There is a trend globally that we are producing too much waste in contrast to how quickly we are managing it and finding alternative methods and uses for our waste."

Dr Richardson-Barlow is currently part of the Decarbonisation of Steel team, led by Professor William Gale, which forms a subset of the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS).

Image “Scattered plastic waste at Linshanbi, Taiwan’ by Alika 113 licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.