For several years now, we have seen how the exploitation of resources has been causing serious damage to nature. Because of the environmental awareness that society has been creating, various methods and concepts were developed to try to solve environmental issues. One of them is the circular economy.
In a theoretically simple means, this way of thinking about our production and consumption has gained increasing strength. Read the content that Polyexcel has prepared below to understand the circular economy definition and how the change it introduces can positively affect us!
Linear X circular
Think about how we consume today: we go to a store, buy what we want, consume, and then discard. This happens with all things, no matter how long the service life. From a ballpoint pen to a refrigerator, it is always the same process.
This is the way we have consumed for centuries, called the linear economy. It works exactly as the name suggests: consumption follows a line, with a beginning, middle, and end. The point is that, as we produce, buy, consume and discard, we create a huge environmental problem.
That is because natural resources do not keep the time at which we produce things. So, we take what nature has at an absurd speed, transform these materials into specific products for our consumption and discard them afterward, without thinking about returning them to nature.
As you can imagine, the more time passes, the more unsustainable this model turns out to be. In the future, we are just going to deal with a lack of natural resources and mountains of garbage. Therefore, the concept of circular economy was created, going against this idea.
What the circular economy is
To understand the circular economy principles, we must go back to the origins of the concept. The first time the term was used to represent an economic system is credited to David W. Pearce and R. Kerry Turner, in the book Economics of Natural Resources and the Environment (1990).
However, this was not the first time that such a circular economy model has appeared. The thought that human beings would be exceeding the use of the planet’s natural resources, a finite source, dates back to the 1960s, with economist Kenneth Boulding.
Based on the study of the Earth as a finite source of resources, scholars began to observe nature and how it behaves cyclically — nothing turns to garbage, everything is transformed into something new, with a different purpose. It is an infinite and sustainable cycle of creation and energy.
Thus, the concept of circular economy sustainability was created, following this same principle. Everything must be done to serve another intention when the initial one no longer makes sense. Therefore, linear and circular economy are opposite ideas.
In other words, when a refrigerator breaks down, it will not turn into garbage. It would be designed in such a way that the parts could easily be reused to produce something new. So instead of throwing it in the trash, you could return it to the manufacturer, who would create a new purpose for it.
Circular economy processes
It is clear that to modify a method used for centuries by humanity, it is necessary to create processes for change. According to CEPS, Center for European Policy Studies, there are eight examples of the application of the circular economy, divided into three broad categories.
To use less natural resources
Here, are discussed the processes that aim to reduce the direct impact that we generate on the environment, whether it is to remove the resources that nature offers or to produce garbage. Therefore, in this category are:
- efficient use of natural resources;
- utilization of renewable energy sources.
To keep the highest possible value of materials and products
In this category, the main question is how we produce what we will consume. Here, the counterpoint is that our things have an increasingly shorter expiration date and cannot be reused later. To combat this, the processes are:
- remanufacture, renovation, and reuse of both products and parts;
- increase in the shelf life of products.
To change the usage patterns
Finally, here are discussed the role that the consumer plays when using the products and the way change also comes from each one of us. Thus, the processes raised in this category are:
- offering products as services;
- sharing models;
- exchange of consumption patterns.
Why apply this model?
Now, you may be asking: what are the circular economy benefits? The major one is humanity starting to respect nature and the resources it offers.
Even though it is a complicated process of change, it must be put into practice as soon as possible. The transformation comes not only from an industry that needs to be greener but from consumers who must also get used to new forms of consumption.
Polyexcel supports the change!
Here, at Polyexcel, we have practices and models that respect nature throughout our entire process. So, if you want to be on top of the change, come and meet us!