Why it’s time your business moves from a linear to a circular economy
, by Admin Account, 4 min reading time
Creating a world without waste – including human potential
, by Admin Account, 4 min reading time
In a world teetering on the edge of environmental catastrophe, it’s time to rethink everything we do. That not only means re-evaluating how we conserve precious resources but also how we consume everyday products.
At the individual level, this means being more conscious about what we buy and how we dispose of unwanted items. But sustainability is not just a problem for individuals.
Right now, businesses have a golden opportunity to lead the way in sustainability for employees, customers, investors and their wider market.
With pressure growing to demonstrate greater environmental, economic and social responsibility, businesses can benefit from making an early transition from the linear to the circular economy.
At present, we operate in a linear economy. This means that most products follow a linear path from raw materials to production to use to eventual disposal. In this model, we try to minimise ecological impacts to get the same economic output. But this doesn’t address the fact we are fast running out of resources, as well as the space to dispose of ‘end-of-life’ products.
The way of the future, the circular economy turns the linear approach (literally) on its head. By approaching products with sustainability at the forefront, the circular economy keeps products in use for as long as possible. Extracting more value from waste not only delivers economic benefits, it also helps society and the environment, making it a more holistic approach.
It’s easier to compare each model when you stop to examine their key differences.
Take-make-waste v reduce-reuse-recycle
The linear economy takes raw materials and builds a product, without much thought about what happens once the product reaches the end of its useful life and is thrown away. The circular economy is focused on keeping still-useful things out of landfill and increasing value by reusing, repurposing, repairing, refitting and recycling products again and again and again.
Profit-first v people-first
The linear economy focuses on reducing costs and increasing efficiency within the existing system, concentrating on economic output. In a circular economy, the system is reworked to build in sustainable practices that not only deliver economic benefits (hello new investment) but also positively impact the environment, society, your employees and your customers.
Short-term single lifecycle v long-term multiple life cycles
The linear economy places a limit on the lifecycle of products, giving them one use and one life before they are discarded. The circular economy sees beyond the initial lifecycle and finds ways to give still-useful items new life. An office desk could continue to be useful in its original form or be repurposed into a room divider, a coffee table or eventually recycled for parts.
Focus on products v focus on services
The linear economy is built on delivering new products that serve a single purpose before being discarded at the end of their life. In the circular economy, the focus is less on products and more on delivering services to give products new life. Relabelling services help clothing get back on the shelves while sustainable waste management services save products from landfill.
Your business can enjoy multiple benefits when you move across to the circular economy:
Circonomy brings together retailers, designers, craftspeople and resource recovery organisations to give new life to still-useful things. We empower individuals and businesses to reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose, helping people see the value, potential and beauty in second-life goods.
Talk to Circonomy about how we can support your move to the circular economy so you can reap the rewards for your business.