In 2015, UN member states agreed on 17 goals which must guarantee a more sustainable and equal society. Many of these goals are closely connected to the principles of circular economy, which are aimed at ensuring a sustainable world order in the context of the explosive population growth and the resulting overconsumption of natural resources. The world’s population has more than doubled in the last 50 years from 3.6 billion (1970) to almost 8 billion today. The extremely fast population growth has jeopardised the balance of the natural environment and created climate problems, which in turn threaten the sustainable functioning of many societies. While many of the SDGs agreed on in the UN have to find answers to the questions of how to guarantee equality and an elementary quality of life (water, medicines, education), the question that circular economy must answer is how to cope with increasing consumption in a situation where natural resources are dwindling. The answer today is that we have to change our social and economic models. One of the clear principles is that everything extracted from nature must be kept in circulation and reused for as long as possible.
Circular economy solutions of Ragn-Sells with UN recognition
Ragn-Sells has focused strongly on service development in the last five to six years, and the main emphasis is on solutions that support circular economy. The best-known solutions of Ragn-Sells concern our daily municipal waste, such as paper, plastic and other materials. The company has researched and developed solutions to managing waste in a manner which ensures that as many of the materials found in waste as possible could be released back into circulation.
Large industrial waste is our next priority, as its negative impact on the environment is even bigger if we fail to take advantage of its raw material potential.
The innovative approaches developed by Ragn-Sells that have attracted the most attention in the world so far are Ash2Phos (ash to phosphorus) Ash2Salt (ash to salt).
In the Ash2Phos project , Ragn-Sells cooperated with scientists on the development of a technology for separating phosphorus from sludge. Phosphorus is widely used in many industries and producing this raw material from waste has many environmental benefits, one of which is the reduced need for the excavation of phosphorus.
The Ash2Salt project created a solution that makes it possible to separate industrial salts from ash waste.
In addition to these innovative solutions that support the principles of circular economy, Ragn-Sells has patented many other technologies in recent years that make it possible to release previously unused resources, usually hidden in waste, back into circulation.
The technological waste valorisation solutions developed by Ragn-Sells have attracted a lot of positive attention around the world. The UN has recognised the company for its outstanding achievements in the development of solutions that support circular economy.
The project of valorisation of oil shale ashes and their release into circulation continues the strategic direction of Ragn-Sells, which is to treat used materials as a resource that should be reused as much as possible. The OSA Project of Ragn-Sells is based on the ash valorisation technologies developed in Sweden, but solutions that correspond to the specific qualities of oil shale will be developed with the Estonian scientists of TalTech and the University of Tartu. Here, the focus is on one of the biggest industrial waste challenges in Estonia – to release extracted and used resources back into use as materials.