A lot of us hear about the circular economy but we don’t really know what it is, or how we can use it to our advantage. So here is our short explanation of the circular economy.
The industrial revolution
The Industrial Revolution kick-started the way manufacturing and industries work today. It was simple. Use resources available to us from earth, produce products at scale, and discard whatever waste we produce. This may have been great to grow economies, however this is certainly not sustainable. This is a linear economy, which gives no thought to disposal of waste. Many have started to realise how this is not going to be possible in the long term. Disposing of waste is becoming tough, with governments issuing landfill taxes and incineration producing toxic substances.
A new way of thinking
The circular economy principle is a new way of thinking, to design products to have a second, third, and fourth life. This is done by designing out waste. If we can change the mindset, that instead of disposing textile waste, we can capture value and reuse materials. This will ensure that no waste or pollution is created.
It essentially means that we keep materials or products in use by finding ways to reuse ‘waste’.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation
The Ellen MacArthur foundation is a pioneer of this thinking. They have suggested that if we can employ circular economy principles, we could reduce 48% of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. Not only that, there would be millions saved in reduction of health care costs, cost savings within the fast moving consumer goods sector, savings for businesses and households, as well as a huge reduction in congestion within cities. They even go to say that EU households would see a 3,000 euro increase in disposable income per annum.
So if this isn’t great, we don’t know what is!