Before we understand the circular economy, we need to understand the different types of economic models. There are three types:
A linear economy is how most organisations operate. It is based on a "take, make & waste" model where consumers are encouraged to spend more and hence companies produce more. The products are usually made of toxic or synthetic materials. As a result, more waste is generated.
A recycle economy is where old products are used to make newer products. For example, old paper is reused to make new paper. This model is an improvement on the linear economy, but the raw materials may not be entirely biodegradable so waste is still produced.
A circular economy is the ideal state for a sustainable society. It is based on a “reduce, reuse & recycle” model where the amount of raw materials used is reduced, products are designed to be reusable so when they reach end of life they are recycled. A circular economy follows a biological cycle where various materials are in a symbiotic relationship of life and death so waste does not exist.
The circular economy is based on three principles:
- Design out waste and pollution
- Keep products and materials in use
- Regenerate natural systems
Currently, over 90% of companies operate in a linear model, which means that there is excessive and intensive use of natural resources. Sadly, most of the products produced will never make it back into the biological system and this "waste" will ultimately be burned or sent to landfill which pollutes the environment.
Why the circular economy?
We cannot run a linear model in a finite system. We imagine a world where we have an abundance of clean air, water and soil, where everything we make is designed to be regenerative and renewable.
Well, that world is possible with a circular model but it'll require each and everyone of us to make the right decisions for what we buy and consume. As a society we need to shift how we think and behave so that everything we do can be maintained for future generations.
What can I do?
Good thing that you (yes, you!) can make a difference. It starts with asking the right questions, finding out the answers and making small changes everyday. Buying consciously and embracing slow fashion, is a simple step towards making a circular economy go from a vision to a reality.
At Baçura, we've applied circular design principles into how we make our clothes. Find out how ►
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