The circular economy is a hot topic at the moment and awareness has been growing due to promotion from organisations such as the Dame Ellen MacArthur foundation.
The official description of the circular economy is “An alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life”.
Put plain and simply "one persons waste is another persons raw materials". Sounds great doesn't it?
But when I speak to friends and family they have never heard about it.
So why is it the general public know nothing about it?
The irony of it is that we are all engaged in the circular economy, and don't even know it, here are some examples: Household waste - we are all now used to using sorting bins for our rubbish whether it be recycling waste into garden, plastics and so on.
By using this our waste is remanufactured into something new, for example, there is a company that uses old plastics bottles for road surfaces, you can learn more about them here.
Selling/donating your unwanted items - I recently moved home and found a few items during the move that I no longer had a need for such as old cables, remote controls.
Normally I would think well it's no use to me so it wouldn't be of any use to anyone else and would throw it away.
Wrong! I listed the items on eBay and before long I had sold them, not for much admittedly but that wasn't the point I wanted those items to keep going and going so I was happy for them to find a new home.
Of course there are other ways to dispose of such items car boot sales, freecycle, donating to a local charity shop. Again we do all of these things regularly and without realising we are active in the circular economy movement.
Sharing your stuff - I was lucky to have a conversation with Dame Ellen MacArthur and we talked about the sharing economy and how that plays a part in the circular economy movement and she became very animated stating that the sharing economy operates right in the heart of the circular economy as it keeps idle goods active as they to fail less and avoid the need for them to be disposed of.
Think about your items that have a rechargeable battery your drill, mobile phone or laptop.
Through constant use you deplete the battery and by charging it again keeps the battery active but if we do not use these items enough they fail quicker but through sharing and letting someone else use them they are kept active and last longer, a bit like us!
So in summary I would argue that we are all already living and breathing circular economy movement but we are not familiar with this term.
At Borroclub we make people aware of the circular economy as often as we can (especially as we were shortlisted for a circular economy award in Barcelona last year).
Unless this is promoted to the wider general public then the true and full benefits will never be realised.