IARC 2023 Transcripts - 04 CAT

So my name is Jos and I’m working on the research in Circular Economy and automotive sector, and I would like to know your point of view. If you accept, I’m going to record our conversation, transcribe it and put the transcription with a pseudonym, not with your real name in the repository of text documents that will be used for the research. If you do this and you change your mind and no longer want to participate, get in touch with us and we will immediately remove your interview from the repository. I’m leaving you an information sheet with contact information, so if you agree, then please tell me your first name and that you agree.

I am Catherine and I agree.

Thank you very much, Catherine. So the first question, can you define a circular economy in your own words?

It’s the opposite of a linear economy. So for me, circular economy is that everything stays in a loop.

Uh, do you participate in a circular economy yourself in any aspect of your life?

Absolutely. Professionally, we take care of the recycling of end of life vehicles in Belgium and Luxembourg. So this is already a major circular economy. And then we have another company, what forever in which we transform batteries of electric vehicles into circular energy storage systems. So I’m 100% busy professionally with circular economy. And also in my personal life, I’m really a green woman recycling everything I can recycle, reuse a lot of things, uh, avoid also to make waste. Uh uh, yeah. And, and a fan of nature and so on. So on.

How did you become interested in the circular economy, ideas and practices?

Well, since 20 years, I’m reading about transition and away from the carbonized economy and how the future of this earth can be. Um, because I. I was afraid since very long time on the of the limits of, um, the earth, but mainly not the earth, because the, the, the abuse of the humans in this earth and all the minerals and the, and the substances. And so I was, I am since 20 years looking for better ways to, to use material to live as humans and to not to exploit the nature and the earth beyond its limits.

Um, in your opinion, can a circular economy be implemented in individual sectors or industries?

Absolutely. I’m so persuaded. We just heard the, uh, ArcelorMittal, the, the keynote speaker of, uh, this morning. It’s a huge industry. And also they can decarbonize. They try to play an important role in circular economy. I think every industry has this responsibility to change, uh, linear thinking and make it circular.

Do you think the circular economy already exists in the car industry?

Yes, I’m absolutely sure. But what we see now is recently the two last years is really a change in mind. And also even maybe even only the last year, we see a recycling industry approach being being approached by the automotive industry. I’m more than 20 years in this in this industry, and this is for the first time I see this, I see this happening, this circular economy, this circular networking, thinking how are we going to make cars with recycled materials from the beginning on thinking that is really a major change.

Uh, do you currently own a car?


Which kind?

An electric car, Of course. It’s my third electric car. It’s a Mercedes Eqa. And I’m really. I like it very much to drive electric cars. I would never go back to a diesel. Yeah.

Uh, when is the one, adjective that comes to mind when you think about electronics in a car?

Electronics. I know. Yes. Yes. Yeah. First of all, I’m very fond of electronics in the car. I really think it’s a major improvement of the life to have a GPS, for instance, in the car. But, um, about dismantling. I also know the economic economics of. This industry. So it’s not always the best way to dismantle all the electronics of the cars. I believe more in shredding and shred technology that can separate afterwards the materials Again, I think in an industrial way it’s a more feasible way. Uh, dismantling all these electronics is not so easy and a is a highly costly affair maybe for some materials and and devices. It’s really the way to do. But don’t generalize it.

What it means. Uh, cars which include, uh, electronic components, uh, you mean are easier or harder to adapt to circular economy than regular cars?

For me, there is not such a big difference. Uh, um. Indeed, we don’t treat them differently. We all treat them, you know, uh, the average age of cars when we recycle them is more than 18 years. So we have the time to adapt if we need to adapt in order to get more electronic, uh, more materials from the electronic devices to be recycled. And we will adapt. Our industry is really has time to adapt itself towards uh, what is needed. And that’s the, that’s one of the, of the advantages of car recycling is that we have time to adapt the technology and I’m sure it will. When there is an economically and an ecological advantage, we will adapt.