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Sustainable Sundays will bring you bite-sized sustainability content straight to your inbox every Sunday. Designed to keep all of us, myself included, engaged, empowered and optimistic about protecting our planet and all of us who live here. Back by science and engineering (peer-reviewed articles & reputable news sources only), we will aim to provide accurate and timely information, and include actionable items to engage in living a more sustainable life.
Okay, let’s get into it.
Today we’re talking about all things circular economy: What is it, why does it matter and what are we meant to do with this information.
The way we live now is using 60% more resources than the Earth can provide and is creating an unmanageable amount of waste.
A circular economy has widely been considered the way forward.
What is the circular economy?
This term has been thrown around quite a bit lately, and one thing that I’ve discovered is that is has a multitude of different definitions. This was one that I think sums it up nicely:
In a circular economy, resource use is improved by minimising the extraction of natural resources, maximising waste prevention, and optimising the environmental, social, material and economic values throughout the lifecycles of materials, components and products (Velenturf, 2021).
Another way of thinking about it at a simpler level is doing more with less. Think sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials to get the most value of existing products and materials.
Why is it important?
The shift towards a circular economy is important for several reasons.
What am I meant to do with this information?
Knowing about why shifting towards a circular economy is so important can help empower us as consumers to make more thoughtful and beneficial decisions for the environment. In a time where the word sustainability is used a lot and often at surface value.. thinking about the principles of a circular economy allows us to think critically about the products we buy and whether or not they are truly ''sustainable'.
Some things to ask yourself before purchasing something new:
All in all, it comes down to three principles: consume less, consume better and send a message when your purchase, that we as consumers value the environment and want to see a shift towards a circular economy.
Consumers can only do so much when the entire economy is built on the take-make-waste model. What we need is systemic change, so that sustainability doesn't only depend on consumer choices.
Making the shift to a circular economy won't be easy. But the reward; a world where people, nature, and economies can all thrive, will be well worth it.
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