Episode 4 – Circular Economy

8.30pm, RTÉ One, Monday 5th December 2022

Ep 4 Circular Economy - Tryptich for Website

In 2019, a third of our waste, 1.2 million tonnes, was exported for recycling. However, once it leaves our shores, we don’t know where it ends up and have no control over whether it’s even recycled. The current system is not sustainable… but what if, what we’re throwing away as “waste”, is not just salvageable, but rich in resources?

In this episode we meet the scientists developing technologies to recycle nutrients in wastewater from dairy farms to produce protein-rich biomass, enabling a closed-loop rural feed industry that could also help produce more environmentally friendly bioplastics! We’ll also see how slurry and food waste can be transformed into green, renewable energy and speak to the farmers at the heart of this initiative.

Meanwhile, as our insatiable desire for modern technology pushes global demand for rare earth minerals and metals, we examine projects that seek to reclaim precious metals from disused electrical items such as TVs and mobile phones. And we also look back to the source – Ireland’s rich mining past – to investigate whether materials taken out of the ground centuries ago could contain traces of valuable minerals to help us create a more circular economy.

And in Curious Chronicles, Fergus investigates the complex and perhaps surprising history of the plastic bag…


If you missed the episode, catch up here on the RTE Player

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