"The concept of reusing materials and resources has been around for a long time, but now is the time to scale up recycling to a whole other level."
Nowadays, it takes a certain skill to read the news, watch commercials or listen to podcasts without hearing the expression Circular Economy or Circularity mentioned at least a couple of times. But what does it mean? In this article, we shed some light on the topic and give an example close to our hearts.
What is a circular economy?
As opposed to the "take-make-waste" Linear Economy dominating society today, a circular economy is a system whereby we continuously reuse resources. Instead of throwing products away, they can repurposed into new products.
The aim of a circular economy is to eliminate waste. Rather than continuing to extract and produce raw materials to make new products, at great environmental expense, after a product reaches the end of its life it can be reprocessed into a new product, or safely returned to nature.
A circular system reflects the natural world in which resources, like a fallen tree for example, are put back into the system.
But true circularity goes further than reusing resources, as that is only part of the problem. True circularity also encompasses sustainable, ethical production methods and the same with the extraction of virgin materials. Products are designed to last and be easily repaired, like with this modular smartphone from Fairphone.
The benefits of a circular economy
It’s easy to see the benefits of switching to a circular approach. In a circular system, the need to constantly produce or extract finite resources is removed by reusing those already in the system. This significantly decreases a garment’s environmental footprint (yay!).
From a consumer perspective, they get the warm, fuzzing feeling from doing their bit for the environment, and many circular brands also incentivise their customers financially for using the system.
The role of the consumer
No circular economy can exist without people willing to contribute to it.
The transition to a circular economy is absolutely necessary in order to address climate change and significantly reduce the overuse of the world’s natural resources. Pretty much all international organisations agree on this topic, but opinions differ on exactly how a circular economy should be designed.
Most of them say that it begins with a systematic change, where companies and individuals transform from mindless consumption and start taking more conscious decisions.
You may recognise this as our very own mission statement, so naturally, we agree with them.
We can’t only rely on major corporations transitioning and thinking that will solve the problem. Everybody has to pull their weight, even midsize companies, startups (like us!) and individuals (like you!).
As consumers, we can reduce the consumption of new things and instead reuse more. As companies we can design products and packaging in a smarter way. All of us can recycle, and states can help provide more frameworks where the energy of non-recyclable things can still be preserved when it is incinerated.
A Good Loop
When we recently launched our Mobile cases, made from linseed waste, but we didn’t want to stop there. Even though using what would otherwise go to waste to produce a new product is already a big step in a circular system, we wanted to keep the cycle going and introduce A Good Loop – a circular system that lets you swap your old mobile case for a new one
Having carefully designed and produced these awesome cases we don’t want them to end up in the trash once they have served their purpose, alongside all the other stuff that we throw away.
Because the cases are completely plant-based, with a little bit of processing, we’re able to turn them into pellets again, and feed these pellets into a moulding machine to make new phone cases.
Our dream scenario is to be able to write “This case used to be 20 other cases before it became your case” on the inside.