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16th July 2020

Patented Recycling technologies for a Circular Economy

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We live in a wasteful world, driven by the linear economics of take, make and dispose. In this traditional model, raw materials are harvested, manufactured into products and then used until they are eventually disposed of as waste. The World Bank announced in late 2018 that global annual waste production is predicted to rise to 3.4 billion tonnes by 2050, up from 2 billion in 2016, without urgent remedial action.

Our latest report delves into the patented recycling technologies helping create a Circular Economy. Cipher conducted in-depth analysis of this patent landscape that uncovered the following key points:

  • China Academic institutions lead the world in patents related to recycling technologies,
  • The US only holds 4% of granted patents in the Circular economy, yet is the largest waste generator per person,
  • The competitive landscape is dominated by research organisations,
  • Plastic and metal recycling technologies form almost half of all patents in the Circular economy area of innovation.

Plastic and metal recycling among the top technologies

The analysis in this report is based on recycling technologies that align with the concept of “The Circular Economy”, in which resources are kept in use for as long as possible extracting the maximum value from them while in use, then recovering and regenerating products and materials at the end of each service life.

Specifically, the patent data is focused on recycling technologies for: Plastics, Metals and precious metals, Paper & card, Food, Textiles to name a few.

Technologies relating to recycled carbon fuels have been excluded as these are perceived to risk undermining efforts towards climate change mitigation and the Circular Economy. Using Cipher’s advanced clustering methods, the technology descriptions were generated as a result of breaking down “The Circular Economy” IP landscape.

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