Whilst a linear economy based on a take-make-waste approach has been the centre of our global economy for many years, this system isn’t working anymore. The soaring global population growth we are experiencing means that there is a much higher demand for resources at a much faster pace.
Globally, 2.01 billion tonnes of solid waste is produced every year. This number is expected to grow to 3.40 billion tonnes by 2050, which is more than double the expected population growth over the same period. The cheap production and fast consumption of products leads to a high amount of waste, which simply isn’t sustainable.
What Exactly Is Circular Economy?
Circular economy is an economic closed-loop system based on reusing, repurposing and recycling products to eliminate waste and save resources. This system is aimed at keeping products or infrastructure usable for a longer time, avoiding their disposal and improving their productivity.
It also reduces greenhouse gases emissions and overall air, land and water pollution, as it lowers the demand for production of new items. Producing anything from clothing to technological gadgets or even food has a high environmental footprint, so adopting a circular economy system is an effective way to reduce that.
Advantages Of Adopting A CE System
A circular economy system brings many clear advantages for the ecosystem. Besides reducing pollution and saving resources, it also allows us to reduce our dependence to new, raw materials and live within the Earth’s capacity.
But it isn’t only the environment that benefits from this economic system- businesses do too. Using reusable and sustainable resources allows for resource security and price stability, as it cuts out the risk of running out of materials or having trouble finding them. German startup Continental, for instance, is growing a species of dandelions near their factories to develop a more sustainable source of latex, saving resources and money.
A circular economy approach also helps businesses to establish stronger relationships with partners, shareholders and supply chains as the partnerships developed are generally long-term and mutually beneficial. The concept of the circular economy is quite popular now, and consumers are paying closer attention to what brands are doing to become more sustainable. Opting for a circular approach can attract new consumers and increase customer loyalty.
Globally, this system allows for the creation of new industries and the expansion of existing ones, such as the recycling industry, which translates into more jobs available and a push for both local and global economies.
Transitioning To A Circular Economy
The progression from a linear to a circular economy has been happening slowly over the years. However, it is a complex shift that involves a global effort from governments, businesses and individuals. Tax incentive plans have been discussed by governments across the globe, as they can balance out the advantages that a linear economy currently gives to companies in terms of profit. The EU, for instance, has granted 2 billion euros in funding for research and innovation projects on the circular economy in 2019.
For businesses to adopt a circular economy system, they have to completely change their approach to product development and consumer reach. Instead of prioritising how to get consumers to buy more products, they will have to find ways to make their products reusable, recyclable and sustainable, taking into consideration their lifespan, the materials used and how to recycle them for second use in order to avoid product disposal.
Though it might be a challenging process that requires quite a lot of innovation and forward-thinking, the long-term advantages of adopting a circular economy are worth the initial trouble. This joint effort from governments and companies will provide consumers with a wider range of sustainable products to choose from and encourage them to make eco-friendlier decisions, ultimately generating a shift in consumers’ perspectives. In the long term, a circular economy system can build a stable and sustainable economy that generates business opportunities and effectively helps to reverse the consequences of climate change.
If you are looking to expand your circular economy business, reach out to us here. We have an extensive network of highly skilled GreenTech professionals, as well as strong industry knowledge, so we can help you find the right people for your team.