7 Things About Circular Economy You May Not Have Known | Net Impact

7 Things About Circular Economy You May Not Have Known

7 Things About Circular Economy You May Not Have Known | Net Impact

The economy today works as one straight line. Raw materials are taken from the environment, made into goods and then thrown away. However, this method of manufacturing isn’t sustainable in the long run. A circular economy is the answer to maintaining the earth’s finite resources. Instead of being thrown out, materials are continuously repurposed and reused. This emerging system is gaining momentum with businesses, countries and consumers, but there is plenty of work ahead.

The numbers tell a startling story

1. Raw materials become trash

Ninety percent of raw materials used during manufacturing become trash before the product is finished. This production cycle creates an excess amount of waste that could be alleviated through the implementation of a circular model.

2. Products are thrown away

Eighty percent of products are thrown away within the first six months. To fix this, businesses must go beyond recycling. Materials must be designed to be reused again and again, staying within the circular system.

3. Circular is good for the economy

circular economy could add $1 trillion to the global economy. Though this big shift will take time, these changes are good for both the environment and the economy at large.

4. Circular creates jobs

Going circular could create 100,000 new jobs in the next five years. There is also a financial incentive for businesses to look at circular solutions. This study estimates that if companies reduced paper waste by just 1%, it would save them nearly $1 billion.

Forward thinking

5. The climate crisis and going circular

The world’s waste problem is intrinsically linked to the climate crisis, which could potentially displace 1.2 billionpeople. Landfills contribute to this problem — they are a big source of greenhouse gas, which destroys our atmosphere. Taking steps to a more sustainable future is critical if we want to curb the impact humans have on the environment.

A future with a circular economy means the earth isn’t being stripped of its finite natural resources. Instead of continually utilizing new raw materials, materials are repurposed and stay within the system. This benefits ecosystems, the atmosphere, businesses, governments and customers. For businesses in particular, a future in the circular system means control of rising costs as supply is more stabilized.

The circular impact

6. Consequences of a linear system

On a global scale, everything is impacted by the economy. In the current linear system, the negative consequences are severe. This "take, make, dispose" system emits toxic substances. For example, when microbeads (which are often used in shampoos and scrubs) are disposed of, animals ingest those plastics. Additionally, oceans, lakes and rivers are polluted. On the other hand, a circular model looks at the world as a whole and maintains its natural resources.

7. How to go circular

On a smaller level, businesses and governments need to completely rethink their models to adopt a circular process. Products should be designed with the cycle in mind, as it impacts the entire supply chain of a business. Governments play a big role in helping businesses accomplish this shift. They can create tax policies that benefit recycled consumer goods.

On a micro level, consumers must shift their mindset. Doing business with circular companies is a great way to support the movement. However, it also requires a change in thinking. Websites like BuyMeOnce are leading the way by only offering products that are designed to last a lifetime.

Stay involved in the circular movement

Education plays a pivotal role in making the circular economy mainstream. Net Impact is committed to helping young professionals make a positive change. Learn more on their career page: Circular Economy and Sustainable Design.