Why ‘Circular Economy’ Is More Than Just a 2020 Buzz Word

You’ve definitely heard of rideshare companies. You’ve probably even heard of a tool library or repair cafe. These concepts are here to stay because of our society’s drive to a more circular economic future. So, what does that mean and what might it look like in your own life?
Recycling symbol printed
With the very apparent visibility of global warming and a rapidly ticking clock of how much time we have left before our hopes of saving the planet are up, people all over the world are thinking of new ways in which they can have a smaller carbon footprint.
A circular economy is a new alternative to our old, conventional, and linear economy, where we would create, use, and then trash our resources. In a circular economy, our aim is to keep resources in use for as long as possible while finding new ways in which they can be used along their life cycle. As opposed to using environment-damaging, CO2-emitting fossil fuels to power our world, we then can use these products to generate different kinds of biofuel, such as ethanol and biomass-based diesel. Using this method will help to decrease our carbon footprints while increasing our finite resources such as oxygen, clean water, and vegetation.
Aside from these main appealing facts of switching to a circular economy, it also brings other positives such as inspiring innovation, advancing economic growth, and creating jobs. If you’re still wary of this concept, continue reading because by the end of this I can guarantee that you’ll be on board!
Recycled shoes
Many cities are putting major efforts behind driving their economy to become more circular and regenerative. The city of Toronto has created a Circular Economy Working Group, delivering job opportunities to those in its community while also benefiting others with newly thought up zero-waste driven initiatives. To become the Province’s first circular city, many different sectors and organizations are represented and accounted for at crucial program planning meetings.
Giving each industry the ability to dwindle the size of the city’s carbon footprint. In efforts to recover from COVID’s economic pummelling, New Zealand has recently changed from outsourcing it’s recycling to creating a domestic recycling sector in hopes of generating jobs and boosting its economy, while also increasing efficiency and reducing its waste. This also helps to reassure its residents that their garbage is getting recycled, as opposed to being shipped to another country that will inevitably dispose of it irresponsibly in our oceans.
Despite its obvious negative impact on many lives around the world, over the many months of COVID, businesses have had to reimagine how they can deliver their goods and services to their audiences in safer ways. Activities such as working and schooling from home have had major impacts on this year’s carbon footprint. Within the first 6 months of 2020, 8.8% less carbon dioxide was emitted than in those same months in 2019, totaling 1551 million tonnes.
More proof that humans are the cause of rising greenhouse gas emissions. We hope that 2020 has given many businesses new ideas as to how they can operate not only bringing in money but also benefiting the earth’s carbon emissions total.
Circular Economy diagram
To list just a couple, in past years major corporations such as The Timberland Company and McDonald’s have committed to renovating their practices in the transportation, sourcing, and designing of their products to minimize or eliminate their usage of virgin material and extractive farming practices. With certainty, McDonald’s has contributed to a multitude of pollution and will continue to do so. However, within past years McDonald’s restaurants all over the world have been attempting to improve their use of biofuels. Their new strategies include using waste matter such as leftover cooking oil to convert at local processing plants into viable biofuel for the transportation of their goods to be transported on.
The Timberland Company has also shown excitement in improving its business model while announcing that it will be designing all of its products for circularity by 2030. Sourcing all leather, cotton, rubber, wool, and sugar cane from regenerative farms, resulting in a net positive impact.
Challenging governments and colossal corporations to diverge from producing large amounts of carbon emissions and focussing on a more circular future have helped to produce new jobs and improve the country’s economic stance. Everyone from experts at waste management to facility operators are seen being hired by large industries in order to achieve having net-zero or even net positive impacts.
McDs food waste vacuum truck
Now that you have a better understanding of the importance of having a circular economy, you might be wondering what you can do to have an impact on your own company’s business strategies. We’ll end this with several ideas you can integrate into your company to change the course of its impact on the world:

1. Reduce business-related travel

If your company isn’t willing to decrease its number of flights per year, persuade them to offset their business flights by contributing to companies like Flightnook with every flight.

2. Improve recycling practices and reduce trash

Install recycling receptacles and convince your coworkers to bring their own personalized mugs to decrease the use of 1-time use paper cups.

3. Buy green

Start an initiative to buy greener and cleaner products for your office.

4. Convince your company to rent their tools

Look into if your city has any local tool libraries that your office could make use of instead of buying a tool they’ll use once or twice a year. Saves money too!

5. Start a Green Committee

Look for those that have similar interests to you and start a Green Committee that meets once or twice a month to improve your company’s carbon footprint. Community is everything.

6. More work-from-home days

If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that working from home was a lot more doable than our companies have led us to believe in past years.
Our resources are limited and we must use them wisely, in order to have enough for future generations. Demand the change you need for the future you want!