The circular economy seeks to eliminate waste, which is a product of the linear economy. It’s a key stepping-stone in the creation of a formal circular society. Soon, it will become a necessity for global companies and organisations.
How does the circular economy work?
A circular economy focuses on both technical and biological cycles. In the biological cycle, certain materials are designed to feed back into the system through processes such as composting. In the technical cycle, products are recovered, restored, and reused, either by the person or, more often, by the original company.
A perfect example of the circular economy, in the technical sense, is smartphones. Smartphones are lucrative sources of metals such as gold, which can be reused to prevent additional mining. This creates profit for both the company, as the gold is infinitely reusable, and the consumer, who can be incentivised to return old smartphones for profit. This ultimately creates a more circular economy for both consumer and business.
The circular economy is not only a much-needed relief for the environment, but also has the potential to provide massive cost savings for companies globally.
The circular economy also provides significant value in food. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, ‘For every dollar spent on food, society pays two dollars in health, environmental, and economic costs.’
Half of these costs – $5.7 trillion a year – are purely due to the way food is produced.
By reusing by-products into the bioeconomy as well as repurposing some into other industries such as fashion, we can ensure that food does not create infinite levels of waste and is part of circular system.
Where’s the necessity – and the potential?
Moving towards a circular economy isn’t merely an option – it will soon become a necessity. As the Earth has finite resources, it will become necessary to reuse what we’ve already taken as opposed to attempt to find more. There is massive amounts of untapped potential in discarded mobile phones and devices that could be repurposed on a high level.
This wouldn’t only make movements towards improved sustainability, but it would also save companies cost and time. It is also inherently a long-term solution. Since many metals can be recycled infinitely, they can keep being reused for a very long time.
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