What is The Circular Economy?
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Taking The Non-Linear Approach
The circular economy, much like Mad Max‘s “Barter Town,” represents a model by which waste is not viewed as waste, but rather a source of power or material for something else. It’s essentially a closed loop system.
The circular economy currently describes a pretty amazing representation of our desire to strive for zero waste, like the natural world itself. Rather than the conventional means of manufacturing, which is often devised for a single purpose, more attention is given to the product’s end of life, and assessed for further opportunities.
Designed for the Future
One excellent description is as follows, “the circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design. Relying on system-wide innovation, it aims to redefine products and services to design waste out, while minimizing negative impacts. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural and social capital.” – Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
This means we can use more of what we create, more entirely, and find a better, more constructive use for what is left. Brilliant concept, for whom we have the planet to thank. Indeed, there’s so much to be learned from how nature manages things (see Biomimicry).
The Circular Economy – Visualized
The above model attempts to illustrate a more natural means of manufacture, by which the end products eventually feed into the supply chain of other products thus perpetuating the cycle while limiting (if not outright eliminating) its waste contribution.
Searching For Change
Thankfully we are witnessing an increasing trend in the adoption of such practices, from zero waste groceries stores (below) and conscientious supply chains, to lean green architecture powered by renewable energy. The benefits are clear and tangible. Not only does it make sense on a social-humanitarian level, but it really does reflect good management and greater efficiency as well.
Kalundborg (Industrial) Symbiosis
One such established practice of converting a residual product into a resource for another is seen through the application of the Kalundborg Symbiosis (click the image). There really are so many different examples depending on the needs and industry, so I will cut it short here and explore this issue further in future posting.
Given the depth and breath of this topic, I will try to be as specific as I can with my headings (tags) so as to help you find what you are looking for. I hope you find this equally inspiring! The circular economy truly represents a future means of doing business. Not only is it cool, and cost effective, it needs to be. Given the rate of rapid environmental destruction and resource consumption, in time we will no longer have the choice. You can be an early adopter and innovator by incorporating this was of thinking already.