The Circular Economy

The idea of closing the industrial production loop must be in the air this month. I just came across this report on the #CircularEconomy and it meshes so well with my recent post on industrial ‘composting’ that I had to share its key points.  Here goes:

This week, a roomful of sustainability coordinators, educators, government leaders, waste professionals, and various decision makers gathered to discuss one topic that will likely transform the state of all industries in years to come: the circular economy.

Hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF), the “Better Business, Better World” Sustainability Forum served as a springboard for leaders to brainstorm more sustainable and economically beneficial choices for their businesses. While the world turns away from a linear economy — when waste is an inevitable result of product development — a closed-loop system of reuse presents an opportunity for as much as $4.5 trillion in economic growth, according to consulting firm Accenture. However businesses must consider redesigning and reutilizing their products, and the main question is how to do that. …

Here are Waste Dive’s five key takeaways from the Forum:

1. The circular economy is inevitable

There’s no doubt that global economics are going to begin working in a circular way, as many companies are already implementing the ideals of a closed-loop system. As said by Jennifer Gerholdt, senior director of the environment program at the USCCF’s Corporate Citizenship Center, “The linear model, which has been viable in delivering economic growth and development over the past 150 to 200 years, is no longer viable.” …

2. The “system” must be kept in mind

Moving forward with a circular economy is not about changing one product or one method of recycling. It’s also not about getting a few businesses on board or changing some consumer behaviors. It’s about an entire system redesign …

3. Technology will be a key player

“Massive digital disruption” will be a factor of change in many different developments, especially economical shifts. Technology will have the ability to reduce demand in raw materials …

4. Consumer participation may present a challenge

While businesses will work hard to ensure that products are sustainable and offer a fuller lifecycle than traditional products, it will be a process to convince consumers to share the same focus on sustainability. …

5. Every industry can play a part

The Forum garnered representatives from higher education, corporate America, healthcare companies, technology startups, food and beverage giants, and other industries, all for one reason: the circular economy will affect everybody. Eventually, all companies will be forced to take a look at their waste streams and implement recycling, refurbishing, reuse, and redesign strategies to mitigate waste — or else they are bound to fall behind. …

Leave a Reply