The Circular Economy

A new way of thinking about waste

Table of Contents

What if we could turn trash into treasure? What if we could transform the materials that we usually discard into valuable resources for our society and our planet? This is the vision of the circular economy – a way of designing and managing products and systems that minimizes waste and maximizes value.

LINEAR VERSUS CIRCULAR

You see, right now we live in a linear economy where we make things from raw materials, use them for a while, and then toss them in the bin when they break or become obsolete. This is bad for the environment because it depletes natural resources, creates pollution, and contributes to climate change. It’s also bad for the economy, because it wastes money and materials that could be reused or recycled.

The circular economy is a different approach. It’s based on the idea that nothing is really waste, but rather a resource that can be used again and again. It’s inspired by nature, where everything is part of a cycle and nothing goes to waste. In a circular economy, products are designed to last longer, be repaired or upgraded easily, and be recycled or composted at the end of their life. Systems are designed to reduce energy and water use, prevent pollution, and regenerate natural capital. And people are encouraged to share, lease, or rent goods and services instead of owning them. The benefits of the circular economy are huge. It can help us save money, create jobs, improve health, and protect the environment. It can also make us happier and more fulfilled, because we can focus on what really matters: quality, creativity, and community.

The circular economy is built on three fundamental principles:

Design out Waste and Pollution:

In the circular economy, products are designed with the intention of reducing waste and pollution from the start. This means considering the entire lifecycle of a product, from its production to its eventual disposal. Designing for durability, reparability, and recyclability ensures that products have a longer life and can be easily maintained or repurposed, reducing the need for constant consumption of new resources.

Our glass domes are made from waste bottle glass, but are actually a by-product of using the bottom of the bottles for our range of natural candles

Keep Products and Materials in Use:

The circular economy emphasizes the importance of keeping products and materials in use for as long as possible. This involves practices such as repair, refurbishment, and remanufacturing. By extending the life of products, we can maximize their value and minimize the need for new production. Additionally, implementing systems for sharing, leasing, and renting allows multiple individuals to utilize the same product, further reducing the demand for new goods.

Our Alpaca wool stuffed cushion pads includes a zip to add extra stuffing if required to plump the pad over time.

Regenerate Natural Systems:

The circular economy recognizes the importance of regenerating natural systems and restoring ecological balance. This involves prioritizing the use of renewable energy sources, promoting sustainable agriculture, and implementing regenerative practices. By adopting circular principles in agriculture, we can reduce the use of harmful chemicals, recycle organic waste, and improve soil health. Embracing renewable energy sources and eco-friendly technologies further reduces our reliance on fossil fuels and minimizes the carbon footprint.

To process our bottles into homeware we use captured rainwater, and compost any studio waste into a rich soil to grow new plants. 

The adoption of a circular economy model offers a multitude of benefits:

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Environmental Impact:

By minimizing waste generation, resource consumption, and pollution, the circular economy contributes significantly to environmental preservation. It helps conserve natural resources, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, protects ecosystems, and mitigates climate change. By closing the loop on materials and resources, we can alleviate the strain on the planet and work towards a more sustainable future.

how to reduce a carbon footprint

Economic Opportunities:

The circular economy presents vast economic opportunities. It stimulates innovation, fosters the development of new industries, and creates jobs in sectors such as recycling, repair, and remanufacturing. Additionally, the reduced reliance on scarce raw materials and the potential for cost savings through recycling and reusing materials can lead to increased economic stability and resilience.

colleagues smiling at work over a cup of tea - boosting wellbeing in the workplace

Social Well-being:

The circular economy can positively impact society as well. By encouraging collaboration, sharing, and community engagement, it strengthens social bonds and promotes a sense of collective responsibility. Access to affordable and high-quality products and services improves overall well-being, while the reduction of harmful pollutants enhances public health and safety.

Making the Circular Economy a Reality:

Making the circular economy a reality requires collaboration and innovation from all sectors of society. Businesses, governments, NGOs, and consumers all need to play a part. Shifting the mindset from viewing waste as a problem to seeing it as an opportunity is crucial.

Businesses should embrace circular principles by adopting sustainable design practices, incorporating recycling and reusing mechanisms, and exploring new business models that prioritize resource efficiency. Governments can support this transition by implementing favorable policies, providing incentives for circular practices, and fostering research and development in circular economy technologies.

NGOs and community organizations can raise awareness about the benefits of the circular economy and facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration among stakeholders. Consumers play a vital role by making conscious choices, supporting businesses that embrace circular practices, and participating in sharing and recycling initiatives.

the old green team chat and laugh over a cup of tea - with lots of handmade natural candles in the background

FINAL THOUGHTS

The circular economy presents a paradigm shift in how we approach waste and value. It is not just a concept but a movement that individuals can actively participate in. By embracing the circular economy, we can contribute to a more sustainable, prosperous, and resilient future for ourselves and future generations. Together, through collaboration and innovative thinking, we can transform waste into valuable resources and create a world where nothing is wasted, and everything has value.

Resources for Further Exploration:

For those interested in learning more and getting involved in the circular economy, several resources are available:

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation: A global leader in promoting the circular economy, providing information, case studies, tools, and initiatives. (Website: https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/)

The Circular Economy Club: A global network of professionals and enthusiasts passionate about the circular economy. They organize events, workshops, webinars, and projects to spread awareness and create impact. (Website: https://www.circulareconomyclub.com/)

The Circular Design Guide: A practical tool for designers and innovators interested in applying circular principles to their work. It offers methods, tips, examples, and challenges to aid in designing for the circular economy. (Website: https://www.circulardesignguide.com/)

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