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One of the trend words for 2024 is 'Circular Thinking'. Circular thinking goes beyond sustainability; it embodies the values of regenerating and restoring what has been damaged or lost. It's a movement that aims to transform wasted resources into reusable assets, rather than just focusing on eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyles. The perspective on the environment is shifting from 'using less and discarding less' to 'restoring what has already been used.'

Circular thinking is emerging as a keyword in the field of disaster recovery as well. Disasters are one of the causes of waste generation. Most disaster victims demolish damaged buildings and construct new ones or dispose of damaged equipment and purchase new ones. This process generates a substantial amount of industrial waste, which is often hazardous to both the environment and human health. The costs incurred by victims when purchasing new buildings or equipment are also considerable. Considering the negative impact on the environment and society, as well as the social costs, it becomes clear that creating and buying new items may not be the only solution.

In regions where large-scale disasters occur, they often remain abandoned due to slow administrative procedures. In fact, out of the 15 areas declared as special disaster zones in 2022 due to heavy rainfall and typhoons, only three have been recovered. Especially in Gyeonggi, the recovery rate is in the 50s, and the city of Gyeongju in Gyeongbuk, which suffered typhoon damage, has a recovery rate of around 20%. The slow pace of recovery is due to environmental impact assessments, a process that usually takes 3-4 months. In cases where those responsible for the disaster fall under the Major Disaster Penalty Act, recovery efforts are further delayed by investigations into the causes of the disaster and the extent of the damage. For these reasons, many places in South Korea that have been hit by disasters end up as abandoned spaces.

The United States is paying increasing attention to disaster recovery. The U.S. federal government plans to request additional budget allocations by September 2024 due to the frequent occurrence of climate-related events such as heatwaves and floods. Wall Street has identified disaster recovery companies as the next major players. Leading companies in this sector include Generac (GNRC), the largest manufacturer of backup generators in the United States, Skyline Champion (SKY), which produces temporary and modular housing for disaster relief when homes are destroyed by natural disasters, and Oshkosh (OSK), which designs and manufactures specialized vehicles. Clean Harbors (CLH), which provides services such as debris removal and the removal of oil spills and hazardous chemicals when a town has turned into ruins due to natural disasters, is also a notable company.

Korea also has disaster recovery companies, with BELFOR Korea being one of them. BELFOR Korea specializes in restoring spaces damaged by disasters like fires and floods to their original conditions before the disasters occurred. In other words, they are disaster recovery experts who resolve disasters through circular thinking. To transform abandoned and dilapidated spaces into genuinely usable spaces, BELFOR has established restoration industry standards and set fire damage recovery standards. Moreover, they have developed environmentally friendly products that are safe for both the environment and human health over more than 40 years, achieving genuine restoration.

If the keyword 'circular thinking' extends beyond being a trend and takes root in our society, I believe it will change the way we view disasters in the future. While new buildings and equipment are good, the benefits that can be gained through recovery and regeneration are better for the environment, society, and the immediate users of disaster-affected areas. We hope that protecting the environment and reducing social and economic costs through recovery will become more natural.


2023년도 반 이상 지났다...미리보는 2024년 트렌드 키워드

김성원 "특별재난지역 긴급재해사업, 환경영향평가 대상서 제외해야"

행정절차로 재난 피해복구 지연 일쑤…"긴급대응 땐 환경영향평가 대상 제외해야"

"오송 참사, 중대재해처벌 가능…환경부장관·충북도지사 책임 있다"

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BELFOR Contact

Aidil Teper
Phone: +65 6848 1110