27 Jan

Publication in Journal for Cleaner Production

Last month we published this paper on the limitations of the waste hierarchy for achieving absolute reductions in material throughput in the economy. The waste hierarchy is an established rule of thumb for waste management and prioritizes waste prevention over reuse, recycling, incineration, and landfill. The paper describe the origins of the waste hierarchy and compares its original aims with its current use and implementation. The paper concludes that the hierarchy in itself is not sufficient and instead needs to be used within an overarching framework to achieve dematerialization of the economy. The article was published with Open Access in the Journal for Cleaner Production.


07 Jul

Can Resource Productivity save the Climate?

Graph blog V2 SVE July 2014

(This article first appeared at the ISR blog)

The success of a country is commonly measured by its total economic output, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Acknowledging the pivotal role of natural resources in creating such wealth, the European Union is now promoting resource productivity as a leading indicator of progress. Resource productivity is measured as the ratio between economic output and material input, and is supposed to show advancement towards sustainable growth.

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10 Mar

Three Challenges to the Circular Economy

(This article first appeared at the ISR blog)

A sustainable society without circular flows is hard to conceive. For instance cradle-to-cradle, bio-mimicry, and industrial ecology heavily emphasise recycling and reuse activities. Today, all those philosophies seem to have been summarized and trumped by the concept of the circular economy. This week, the circular economy was being celebrated at the “Resource Event” in London, where some 100 speakers shared their views on the circular economy.

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06 Mar

Are carbon sinks just another natural resource?

(This article first appeared at the Climate Week Blog)

The use of natural resources is intricately tied up with climate change. Most notably, the consumption of fossil fuels leads to carbon emissions which in turn cause climate change. Also, carbon sinks like forests regulate the climate by taking up carbon dioxide. Just like fossil fuels, these carbon sinks are increasingly being traded. However, the commodification of carbon sinks may be harmful and counterproductive.

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11 Feb

Guest post at Scientific American Plugged In

In an ever changing world, technological innovation allows us to adapt, survive and thrive. Innovation can impact us adversely as well – the steam engine brought the industrial revolution and with it economic growth and prosperity as well as environmental pollution and inequality. In order to reap innovation’s full benefits, we should try and understand how it works. Read the full blog post at Scientific American Plugged In.

31 Jan

Trading natural capital: a trigger-happy policy?

ISR Blog SDRN Conference IMAGE

(This article first appeared at the ISR blog)

Policy can be like firing a gun. Government sets a target, arms itself with the right policies and pulls the trigger. In the reality of the environmental policy arena however, the target tends to be rather blurred, the policies are difficult to pick and pulling the trigger may not cause even one bullet to hit the target. Recognizing these difficulties, this week’s annual SDRN conference was aimed at gaining a fuller understanding of setting and meeting sustainability targets in the United Kingdom.

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13 Nov

3rd prize in Innovation Essay Competition!

Good news! This week I was awarded the third prize in the Innovation Essay Competition of the Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture at the University of Oslo. I am invited to present the essay in Oslo at the end of this month. The piece is a critique on the multi-level perspective on technological transitions and provides some ideas on how to better understand technological change. A link to the essay can be found here.

01 Oct

Try this: waste management made easy

Top priority in any waste management program is prevention. No waste means no problems, less waste means less problems. At TEDx Concordia University Portland Joe Smith explains brilliantly how you can dry your hands with just one instead of many paper towels. The procedure is fairly simple and the presentation makes you never forget it: shake your hands 12 times, fold the paper towel once and dry your hands on both sides. Done!

23 Aug

Boekentip: Physics for future presidents


Zelfs de macht van de president van Amerika kent grenzen – die van de natuurwetten. Dat maakt Richard A. Muller in Physics for future presidents glashelder. Het boek verklaart de natuurkunde achter grote beslissingen en belangrijke nieuwsfeiten. Muller doet dat op altijd toegankelijke en soms verrassende wijze. Zo behandelt hij energiedichtheid door helder uit te leggen waarom een pak koekjes destructiever kan zijn dan het explosief TNT.

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