Our Circular Economy
Most people don’t like throwing away stuff so the idea behind the circular economy is a real alternative. It helps preserve our planet’s natural resources and reduces further damage to the way we live our life today and in the future. Really the circular economy is about ‘rebuilding, reworking, reusing’ everything we produce, while at the same time generating zero pollution.
Buy and Selling
Consumers changing buying habits and demands and staff changing product and service designs can help companies! Instead of simply recycling their waste or cutting their energy consumption businesses in the circular economy can review and change the way they produce goods and services.Implementing this type of change helps business close the production circle meaning products will support easy maintenance, easy reuse and refurbishment and lastly allow easy recycling (easy disassembly).
Some of us will remember a time when drinks bottles were reused. It worked well for lot of drinks companies but was abandoned. It’s time to think in that way again. In a circular economy, each new bottle is designed for future sharing or reuse and at the end of its life (e.g. when is get chipped or broken) it becomes a potential resource or raw material, recycled as a new bottle, vase, etc. Does this makes sense!
Recover, Repair, Reuse…..
The circular economy sets out to change production and consumption of goods and services. It aims to design goods to be shared, repaired and reused as in past era’s and is the opposite of pre planned obsolescence or breakdown.
Repairing is again becoming the norm due to our need and want for self-staining communities. Just look at repair cafes. By reducing, reusing, sharing and finally recycling products, we’re radically changing the way we use and consume them.
What we can do?
Take WEEE or waste electrical and electronic equipment, it represents the one of the largest and most varied source of waste in the world and is growing by an estimated 3–5% annually. (Source: Eurostat) The recovery of expensive and scarce resources such as metals from these products represents a significant economic opportunity. However, current recycling technologies and business models have limited ability to recover these resources, and associated recovery rates remain relatively low and costly to achieve.
To address this, we need to manufacture products which fit the circular economy model. We need to build in longer life while removing obsolescence from electrical appliances, we need to ensure software updates and patches don’t slow down electronic devices e.g. phones and tables but rather make them more efficient and effective. We need products which can be opened and repaired. Business models for service and repair will grow to support this vision. It should mean products last longer and less of our natural resources are used Recycling should be consider the last option and when consider items should be recycled to create new products!
If wish to learn more, please look to Ellen MacArthur who set up the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2010 to champion the circular economy concept. Since then, the foundation has been influential in making it resonate among world leaders, global corporations and academic institutions.
You can also read about what some businesses are doing @ Coming of age: The heroes and villains of the circular economy. The article features organisations including Patagonia and Apple – well worth a read.
About Recycle IT
Recycle IT is the only Community Electronic Recycling Social Enterprise in Dublin providing a neighbourhood collection and drop services for all types of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). During 2015 Recycle IT offered collection services to 100,000 homes and businesses across Dublin. Visit our website for further details.