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The dawn of the economy: Prince Charles says ‘seeing is believing ‘

United Kingdom – ‘It is impossible not to state how urgent it is that we move towards a circular economy ‘ – particularly when addressing the seemingly unending flow of plastics,’ said the Prince of Wales at a recent meeting focussing on design and innovation in the plastic recycling industry.

‘One critical part of the transition towards a circular economy, particularly in relation to plastics, is that of innovation and the need to rethink the way we design products,’ said Prince Charles at the event, which was hosted by the International Sustainability Unit (ISU) and Business in the Community he launched in 2010.

‘We need to consider, from the very beginning, the second, third and, indeed, fourth life of the products we use in everyday life,’ Prince Charles declared. He said it was ‘incredibly encouraging’ to see so many industry specialists across the value join forces to shine a light on the complex challenges posed by our linear throw-away society.

For example, he is ‘much heartened’ by Unilever’s mission to make sure that 100% of its plastic packaging will be fully recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. ‘Let us draw inspiration from examples like that,’ Prince Charles suggested.

‘I have always been a great believer in the “seeing is believing” idea,’ he pointed out. Therefore Prince Charles hopes that field visits and reports such as the one – The New Plastics Economy: Catalysing action – recently presented by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the World Economic Forum will help make a difference.

‘Surely, it cannot be beyond the wit of man to integrate circular economy principles into the heart of business models,’ he said firmly. ‘Also, consumers must play their role in lessening the burden on our environment,’ the Prince stated. He underlined the necessity to ‘win hearts and minds’.

The ISU has formed a Circular Economy Taskforce, which is building a programme of collaborative action and innovation within different sectors.

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