It may sound rather scientific and complicated, but a circular economy simply refers to a mode of production and consumption which works to reduce waste and extend the lifespan of everyday products. In practice, this involves recycling instead of waste disposal and materials are kept within the economy for as long as possible, ensuring that the world’s precious (and finite) natural materials and energy are preserved.
At Eco Wood Rings, we’d like to think we operate under a sustainable model such as this, and although we do not profess ourselves to be perfect, getting familiar with the term and understanding the importance of the switch to a circular economy is universally beneficial. After all, the more we can understand how human behaviour impacts the environment, the more we can do – in our own big or small way – to combat this.
You may be thinking, well what are the actual benefits of transitioning to a circular economy, and why is this part of the Eco Wood Rings ethos? Well, the benefits of endorsing this concept are actually huge, and if the world over were to start working towards discarding the traditional linear economy (which would be rather ironic considering that the linear model is based upon discarding something of use!), we will all be better off for it.
1/ Reduced pressure on raw materials:
When a product reaches the end of its lifespan, instead of being condemned to landfill, it will be recycled or re-furbished and can then re-enter the economy (at the same quality) for you or me to use. This means our beautiful rainforests, countryside, oceans and many more habitats home to people and an abundance of wildlife, can begin recovering from a bombardment of pollution or the destruction from having resources exploited within them. Raw materials will be conserved for a much greater amount of time and most importantly, the habitats they originate from will not be spoiled.
2/ Economic benefits:
A harmful myth around the notion of being ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘sustainable’ is that it is economically damaging or will somehow reduce company success and profits. We assure you that a circular economy actually produces the opposite effect: innovation is sure to be stimulated as more efficient recycling or re-use methods are invented, and an additional 700,000 jobs are estimated to be created under this model. Increased energy efficiency and lower production costs are also just a snippet of the smorgasbord of benefits that are possible. Positive growth is a key component of the circular economy, so competitive businesses are certainly able to thrive – sustainability and success are far from incompatible!
3/ Stopping climate change:
A circular economy may also be part of the puzzle to keeping our world intact. If you dream about sledging in the arctic or voyaging to some unspoiled island to experience the world in all its richness, then your interest in a circular economy should be piqued! These fragile environments can be protected through companies choosing to create products that work with nature, not against it. The production activities of EU companies alone cause 45% of the annual carbon dioxide emissions. Whilst having facts and figures thrown around can sometimes cause more disinterest than engagement, it is important to realise that the linear economy is not the future, and if we want to conserve nature and all the wonderful things it provides for us, we must move away from the ‘consume and dispose’ mentality.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but we hope you can take away the idea that practicing the ideals of a circular economy is so valuable and can provide the bright future that we all wish for! Some outside-the-box thinking is all that is required to solve any obstacles we may face in protecting our environment.