According to the 2021 Circularity Gap Report only 8.6% of the world’s economy is circular, leaving a huge circularity gap. The world is consuming 100 billion tonnes of materials every year. It’s also more than 1 degree warmer than pre-industrial times. We cannot continue consuming and wasting resources in this way. Businesses must embrace the circular economy and find ways to make their products, processes and supply chains more sustainable.
Keep reading to find 3 simple ways to make your business more circular.
What Is The Circular Economy?
The Circular Economy is an alternative to our ‘take, make, waste’ or linear economy. Resources are kept in use for as long as possible. When they can no longer be used, they are recovered and regenerated. This prevents any material from ending up as waste. This system is more economically efficient and better for the environment.
According to The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Circular Economy is based on 3 core principles:
1. Design Out Waste & Pollution
The way products and processes are designed determines how much waste or pollution is produced. In fact, 80% of the environmental impacts of a product are a result of its design. Businesses must view waste as a design flaw. New materials and technologies should be used to ensure that waste and pollution is not created.
2. Keep Products & Materials In Use
Businesses must stop wasting resources. Keep products and materials in the economy to be reused, repaired or remanufactured.
3. Regenerate Natural Systems
In nature there is no concept of waste. Everything is food for something else. Even a leaf that falls from a tree is food for the forest floor. We must protect and improve our natural world.
By focusing on a more circular way of designing and making products, we can design out waste and reduce our carbon emissions.
“Code Red For Humanity”
The IPCC have recently released their latest Climate Report, described as “code red for humanity”. It states that humans are the cause of increasing heatwaves, droughts and flooding. Burning fossil fuels has significantly increased carbon emissions. Many of the changes we are seeing in the world today are irreversible.
“It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, oceans and land”.
AR6 Climate Change 2021 – The Physical Science Basis (IPCC)
Businesses Must Act Now
There is still hope that we can tackle this crisis and prevent further catastrophe if the world acts now. According to a summary of the report by the BBC, the world needs to halve global emissions by 2030 and reach net zero carbon by 2050. If we can hit these targets we can halt and possibly even reverse the rise in temperatures. But this involves all companies and organisations making drastic changes to reduce their carbon footprint.
How Businesses Can Go Circular & Reduce Their Carbon Footprint
It is vitally important that all businesses begin to implement more circular business models and start working towards net zero carbon. Not all of the following will be applicable to your business but it can provide a good starting point.
1. Design Products For Reuse
The Government’s Right To Repair law came into force last month. The tougher standards ensure more of our electrical items can be fixed rather than thrown away. Manufacturers are legally required to make spare parts available to consumers and third parties. It specifically applies to washing machines, dishwashers and dryers, refrigerators and televisions.
Manufacturing electrical products that can be repaired will result in a huge reduction in e-waste and carbon emissions.
Many clothing companies are providing rental options as an environmentally sustainable alternative to buying fast fashion. The denim company MUD Jeans provides jeans on a rental agreement that can be repaired or swapped for a new pair at the end of their life. These options keep clothing out of landfill and help to reduce carbon emissions involved in the production and disposal processes.
2. Reuse Packaging
Loop have recently partnered with Tesco in the UK to provide supermarket essentials in reusable, returnable packaging. Try asking your customers to return their packaging. Or reuse your own packaging.
You can Buy Sustainable Used Cardboard Boxes from Reuseabox. By choosing to pack in once used boxes you will reduce the global demand for new board and delay the environmentally damaging recycling process. Reuseabox can provide Environmental Reports detailing your environmental savings. Data includes trees saved, energy saved and carbon saved.
3. Re-think Your Waste Disposal
Every year the UK produces over 100 million tonnes of waste. This is significantly more than we can process. A large proportion of waste goes to landfill or is incinerated. A huge amount is shipped abroad where it ends up in the environment. Companies must eliminate or significantly reduce their waste to landfill to help protect our environment.
Ensure all recyclable materials such as plastic or cardboard are segregated and sent for recycling. Consider whether any materials can be reused. Some companies will collect used plastic crates or drums for reuse.
You can also Sell Your Waste Cardboard For Reuse. Reuseabox will collect your used, reusable cardboard for free. They provide a fixed rebate and quarterly environmental reports detailing your environmental savings.
The Circular Economy provides a revolutionary opportunity to grow your business without negatively affecting the environment. Following the IPCC’s latest Climate Change Report, all businesses must focus on reaching net zero carbon as quickly as possible. Implementing Circular Economy principles will enable you to do this while continuing to grow your business. This will allow us to design out waste, keep materials in use for longer and ultimately protect the planet we all need to survive.