Current societal patterns of production and consumption drive a twin environmental crisis of resource scarcity and waste overload. Positioning waste and resource management in the context of ecosystem stewardship, this article relates increasing resource demand and waste production to the violation of planetary boundaries and human rights. We argue that a transition towards a circular economy (CE) that contributes to a resilient environment and human well-being
is necessary to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The transition requires scientific and technological progress, including the development of low-energy biogeochemical technologies for resource recovery, and multi-dimensional value assessment tools integrating environmental, social, and economic factors. While the urgency to adopt a CE is well-recognised, progress has been slow. Coordinated change is required from multiple actors across society. Academia can contribute through participatory action research. This article concludes with the participation strategy of the Resource Recovery from Waste programme, aiming for changes in mentality, industry practices, and policies and regulations in the waste and resource management landscape in the UK.
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