How will the circular economy grow in 2021?

Circular economy and especially circularity have been more widely used and trending words in recent years. More companies are looking for ways to leave a linear economy behind - an economy that focuses on the sourcing, manufacturing, selling and disposing of materials. Now working towards a circular economy where materials are used in a closed-loop and running on renewable energy, ensuring the maximising use of the material. The model of circularity offers a more sustainable use of materials that leaves the traditional wasteful nature, especially when looking at the fashion industry behind.  With companies setting sustainable targets for themselves, there are some circular developments we can be excited about in 2021. 

Rethinking Packaging 

An often forgotten topic when it comes to the impact of a product is what the product has come in - packaging. We have seen a shifting mindset that focuses on replacing any kind of plastic packaging, packaging-free products to alternative packaging made from natural or recycled materials. 

A great company shifting the view on packaging of cleaning products is Everdrop. Winners of the Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis 2021 offer cleaning tabs that you drop into reusable bottles and fill with water. You don’t need to buy a new cleaning bottle every time but only get new tabs. This can save an enormous amount of packaging. There are also established companies pushing the packaging topic.

Take-Back Models 

The take-back models are extremely important when it comes to the fashion industry. For too long the impulsive shopping and discarding mindset have caused extraordinary amounts of textiles- waste. With 80%And with % made from polyester, it takes up to 200 years to decompose. This is not only harming the environment but is also a waste of valuable resources. Fashion brands such as Patagonia or Levi’s are making use of take-back models that encourage customers to send back their unwanted garments and either put them on the second-hand market or refurbish them for new use. Also, furniture giant IKEA is looking for ways to become a circular company by the end of the decade by looking for ways to take back production on a large scale. They have also joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as a strategic partner in June 2020 to work towards becoming a circular by 2030. 

Pushing Circularity 

Not only IKEA but also other companies are putting a great focus on becoming circular and setting circular targets for themselves. 

However, just 21% of global fashion brands have met the 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment (2020 Commitment) by Global Fashion Agenda. This shows that the developments of circularity in fashion is still a big topic, where we hope to see more improvements this year. Circularity is also more pushed on a political level by governments, putting even more pressure on companies to become circular. The ban of single-use plastic, such as the plastic straws approved in 2019 and the EU Circular Economy Action Plan are steps in the right direction. France is pioneering here with the law of “Bill on the fight against waste, and the circular economy” that prohibits retailers from destroying garments, cosmetics and other goods returned, unsold or those remaining in their inventory for a long period. 

Measuring the Process 

Measuring one's process of a company when it comes to circularity should get more attention. Brands should be held more accountable on measuring their progress beyond their revenue, profit or shareholder values. Progress in circularity should become an established measure for a company. Tools such as the Circulytics developed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation helps companies to measure and communicate their circular economy work.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation describes that businesses need to consider their social and environmental impact, and many are already embracing their circular economy model. However, a circular economy cannot be achieved until we can properly measure it. 

How does Kleiderly contribute? 

At Kleiderly, we are happy to see the developments in recent years when it comes to creating a circular economy. We want to contribute to these developments by creating a circular product that gives unwanted clothes a new purpose, and reduces the need for oil-based plastics. 

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