An approach that goes way past the current industrial landscape , wherein a resource is extracted and used in a linear “take ,make , dispose “way, a circular economy helps to reimagine what growth in the 21st century can be, by focusing on positive society wide benefit and necessitating the use of renewable energy sources and the gradual breaking up of economic activities from earth’s finite resources.
A circular economy can be best described as an economic system laying emphasis on eliminating the production of waste and the continual use of resources. It uses reuse , sharing , refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling to create a closed loop of resource consumption ,thus reducing the production of waste, pollution and carbon emissions as well as minimizing the use of resource input .It increases the life of products , equipment and resources and thus increases their overall productivity. Instead of a ‘take , make , dispose ” model of the traditional linear approach ,it makes sure that all “waste” becomes a resource for another process , either as a byproduct or recovered resource for another industrial process, or as a regenerative resource for nature (such as compost).
The 3 principles of a circular economy are as follows:=
Eliminate waste products
Keep the use of resources continual
Regenerate nature with resources
Why is it important to adopt a circular economy?
The world’s demand for the consumption of resources is increasing at an astronomically high rate , something with which the supply cannot keep up. The extraction of these finite raw materials leads to high energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Also, the current economic system leads to the build up of an excess amount of waste .Finite supplies means that a lot of countries lose their self dependence as they have to look for outside import of raw materials,
So, what are the benefits ?
A circular economy represents a clean , healthy and sustainable future. Combining the use of renewable energy , reduced emissions and greater industry efficiency , a circular economy can provide us with the best chance to live within the bounds of nature’s capacity by reducing the environmental damage caused by resource extraction and making sure that less pollution enters our earth’s ecosystem. With the creation of a new green industry new jobs within that sector will also rise up. A circular economy can also help to reduce the dependency on importation of outside raw materials .
A majority of us feel as if we are standing on the edge of the precipice with regards to our planet and our natural resources . The current linear economy model is headed towards a very bleak future and so a circular economy would help us move off that track of self destruction. At this point , we should remember that changes within the industry must be coupled with the collective community efforts too. Healthy sustainable practices can be started right within the walls of our own homes. Reducing our consumption , recycling and reusing our materials are simple everyday actions we can follow in order to contribute towards a global circular economy.