On the 22nd of August 2020, we reached Earth Overshoot Day. This represents the point at which we have used all of Earth’s resources for the year and are now operating on credit. It marks the imaginary point where humanity’s need exceeds what the Earth can regenerate in one year.
It comes just over 3 weeks later than last year. The global pandemic and subsequent lockdown of cities across the world has bought us only 3 weeks in terms of the resources we use. The international research organisation, the Global Footprint Network, has been calculating this date since 1970 and estimates that 1.6 planet Earths are required each year to sustain our current way of life.
The UK Earth Overshoot Day
August 22nd is the average global Earth Overshoot Day but it is also possible to calculate the overshoot days of individual countries. According to the Global Footprint Network, the UK’s overshoot day for 2020 was on the 16th May. Whereas Moldova’s is calculated to be the 8th of December, making it only 23 days short from having enough natural resources to supply its needs for the year. When we reach overshoot day in a given country, we react by liquidating our assets, for example by over-fishing, over-producing (emitting more carbon emissions than can be adsorbed) or simply importing the goods we need from our neighbours.
It’s clear we cannot continue to operate in a world where we continue to use far more than the Earth can provide. The Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted a great need to ‘build back better’. Unless there is a significant change in the way we act, we will continue to use more resources than the Earth can produce, resulting in ecological disaster. So what should we do?
The Circular Economy
The circular economy has been promoted by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation but it’s a concept with deep historical and philosophical origins. It is based on three principles,
– Design out waste and pollution
– Keep materials and products in use
– Regenerate natural systems
It looks beyond the traditional ‘take, make, waste’ or linear industrial model and looks to circularity to re-define growth focusing on positive benefits for all.
Within industry, the Circular Economy focuses on technical cycles to recover and repair products through reuse, repair or re-manufacture. This keeps materials in use, out of landfill and allows our natural resources to regenerate.
How businesses can prepare for the future
From investing in green technology, to re-thinking your supply chain, there are countless ways to improve the sustainability of your business. It is paramount that businesses prioritise sustainability in order for us to ‘build back better’. One easy way is by looking at the packaging you use or produce.
If your business currently uses cardboard boxes for packaging, consider switching to once used boxes. Direct Cardboard provide once used or new surplus cardboard boxes to small and large businesses. By reusing cardboard you delay the recycling process and reduce the need for new cardboard to be produced. This results in,
– Lower carbon emissions
– Trees saved
– Water saved
– Electricity saved
Reusing cardboard boxes may sound insignificant when compared to investing in green infrastructure, but the environmental benefits are the same. Reuse is a fundamental part of the circular economy and must not be over-looked.
For producers of used cardboard boxes
We’re always looking for large scale producers of used cardboard boxes to partner with. If you’re a manufacturer you probably handle a large volume of cardboard in your day to day operations. By diverting reusable cardboard to reuse and delaying the recycling process you can,
– Reduce your carbon footprint
– Improve the efficiency of your waste handling
– Receive a fixed rebate, higher than the waste rate
If you’d like to find out more about how your business can benefit from cardboard box reuse, contact us on 0800 2465731.