Materials Vision: Sustainable Growth Coalition

  • Eliminate the concept of waste. 
  • Define and develop the workforce and infrastructure required for a circular economy. 
  • Utilize materials in a manner that is regenerative and has net positive impacts. 
  • Improve human health and well-being by advancing social, racial, and economic equity. 
  • Enable long-term prosperity for all and the availability of necessary materials for future generations.
  • Materials Vision (PDF)

Problem Statement

Materials are undervalued and are part of a linear take-make-waste model, resulting in inefficient use and unsustainable consumption, which threatens natural resources, human health, well-being, business continuity and growth.

Four Focus Areas

  • Design for Circularity – Reducing material utilization to maintain quality through product redesign will lower extraction, processing and resource usage. Through redesign, organizations can decrease long-term costs and risks while increasing resiliency. Minnesota is the leader in advancing circular design, meaning eliminating waste through innovative materials design, decreased materials consumption, and increased conservation.
  • Reuse or Repurpose – Reusing and repurposing materials decreases the need for virgin, raw materials extraction and resources for recycling (e.g. energy and water). The benefits to organizations are numerous, including new local markets for re-use, reduction in the need for material transport, and reduction in the amount of new materials needed to grow. No waste is created, meaning local markets exist for reusing and repurposing consumed, used, or disposed of materials in Minnesota. Minnesota is the leader in material reuse and circular innovation.
  • Recycle – Having a recycling process that supports a circular economy can leverage regional resources and markets, save on costs, optimize materials use throughout their lifecycle, and positively impact local economies. Recycling efforts will process materials at their highest value and utility, as locally as possible, reducing the need for additional sources of virgin materials.
  • Regenerate – The majority of materials are not part of a circular model and are not returned to their original state. We should return materials to their original, or a better state of being, to increase their long-term value, utility, and availability. In a truly circular economy, no materials recovery or waste-to-energy efforts are needed. Our goal is to transition out of our recovery needs and eventually focus on regeneration—leaving our environment better than we found it and improving quality of life.
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Jon Smeija

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