Our July talk will be presented by Dr Stephen Burnley, formerly of the School of Engineering and Innovation at the Open University, at St Patrick’s Irish Club at 7:30.

All life is a battle to keep living organisms and, in the case of humans the things we use, in a chemically unstable state. For example, we need food to maintain our metabolism, and society consumes vast amounts of energy and produces mountains of waste to transform stable mineral ores into useful metals and atmospheric nitrogen into chemical fertilisers. In short, we are constantly trying to reverse the inevitable forward march of entropy or disorder. Climate change and material shortages have forced Governments to realise that ultimately, we cannot win. However, we can slow the progress of disorder by moving towards what is known as a “Circular Economy” based on the consumption of recycled and biological materials fuelled by non-fossil energy sources.

The amount of solid waste that society produces is one measure of how far we have to go to make our economy circular. We all generate wastes, some of this is essential, some might be called a lifestyle choice and some is the result of decisions taken by governments on our behalf. Stephen looks at how much waste England produces, what happens to it and what it costs us all. He then considers the circular economy from a waste perspective considering how far we can go and the limits to achieving circularity.