In the living world, one species’ waste is another’s food. Things grow then die and nutrients return to the soil safely. This process has been with us for a few billion years and will be around for many more.
In today’s modern world, we have adopted a different style: we take, we make, and we dispose. We have adopted a linear approach. A new phone comes out, so we get rid of the old one, our washing machine breaks, so we buy another.
Each time we do this, we’re consuming finite resources and often generating toxic waste, which is not sustainable in the long run. But let’s think of the living world cycle model and re-image the linear process. Instead of throwing things away, why not create something useful instead?
This is what the circular economy does. A circular economy aims to use resources for as long as possible, maintaining their value and limiting waste. There are a few ways. Ideally, we can reuse products after one user is done with them. If that isn’t possible, one can repair, remanufacture, or recycle it. However, this process consumes more energy and resources which takes away some of the value.
In the global economy, only 8.6% of resources are used more than once. Climate change, resource scarcity, and excessive waste are critical and urgent issues. A circular economy can help solve these issues and ensure prosperity for all.
Here’s a successful example of a circular economy in baby’s clothing. In today’s linear economy, people buy clothes as their children grow up. Most of these clothes won’t be in use as the children grow up so quickly and end up in a landfill.
Now, innovators like Moms Store Nepal(MSN) have made this process circular. MSN aims to extend the life cycle of used clothes by providing a platform to sell/donate it and bring new products out of them through upcycling.
It is just one of the many innovative examples of companies embracing the circular economy.
The concept has spread to many industries such as food, plastics, textiles, and even energy systems. Circular economies are not limited to any one industry or product. The idea is to connect all the interconnected companies that make up our infrastructure and economy. It’s about rethinking the operating system itself.
For the circular economy to succeed, managers need to collaborate with customers and suppliers. They can communicate with customers to increase the adoption of new programs, like repair services. Collaborating with suppliers can enable companies to gain access to materials, and inputs, including the waste of another company. We can prosper in a circular economy if we can recognize the value in what we currently consider waste.