What is Circular Economy?
Popularized by the European Union, the concept of a circular economy endeavors to solve the emerging resource problem facing our planet. The dwindling non-renewable resources that humans have depended on for the last century are projected to run out within the next one hundred years, and societies and governments are trying to find solutions to this complicated problem. Finding a solution now is imperative to ensure we leave enough resources for future generations to utilize.
In more detail, a circular economy desires to dismantle the current state of economic activity by turning a focus towards renewable energy sources. In an ideal world, these closed-loop processes will eliminate waste and redefine the idea of manufacturing success. The main three principles of the circular economy are to design waste out of the manufacturing system, encourage reusable products, and regenerate natural ecosystems.
Current manufacturing processes are linear, meaning that new materials are used to create a product that is bought, used, then thrown away. A circular economy eliminates this throw-away mindset without reducing the quality of a product or image of a brand.
The difficulty with a circular economy is the mindset shift that must occur throughout the economy, from businesses to consumers. This change won’t be an easy one, and it may take years for nations to make the adjustment.
A circular economy mindset can be applied to many processes, whether biological ecosystems or technology creation.
Circular Biological Cycles
A circular economy is based on the idea of creating circles for every cycle. For example, a biological cycle focuses on using biologically-based materials and then returning them to the ecosystem either by composting or anaerobic digestion. A biological cycle regenerates living systems to ensure the return of renewable resources such as bamboo, cotton, or wood.
Circular Technical Cycles
When it comes to materials that are not easily returned to their organic state, the technical cycle practices recovering and restoring these products and components through other strategies. For example, old products could be reused, repaired, or remanufactured for another use. The last resort for a technical cycle is recycling.
The 10 Circular Economy Principles
Businesses that have begun implementing the ideas of the circular economy into their daily operations often discover more cost efficiency. This cost efficiency allows businesses to better serve their customers while also improving the health of the environment. While some are skeptical of the circular economy system, the truth remains that proactively protecting the environment is beneficial no matter what.
1. Waste as a resource to be returned to nature and be used in the future.
2. Second Use of items that had an original purpose but are being given another use.
3. Reuse old products or parts of old products for new purposes.
4. Reparation is giving damaged products a chance at a second existence.
5. Recycle materials that have been determined to be waste.
6. Valorization is the government action to bring value to something, such as waste to harness energy from it.
7. Functionality economy where products are rented until no longer needed and returned to the company for dismantling and reuse.
8. Renewable energy sources that reduce and eventually eliminate the use of fossil fuels.
9. Eco-designs that consider environmental impact as products are being designed to ensure that the entire life process benefits the environment.
10. Industrial and territorial ecology where the organizational method prioritizes the optimization of stocks, materials, energy, and services.
Since the concept of a circular economy is relatively new, this means that no standard exists to measure it. Every industry will have to be measured differently, which means that there is still much to be done. However, as society continues to seek ways to protect the environment, we, at Golden Arrow, have already created a manufacturing process that uses renewable energy and a closed loop water cycle. Interested in our products or manufacturing process? Reach out to us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.