Q: What is the Circular Economy?
Our partners, Planet Ark, give a great explanation of what the Circular Economy is just below:
What is a circular economy?
Most Australians are all too familiar with the traditional linear economy, that is, the ‘make, use, dispose’ economy – sometimes referred to as a ‘throwaway’ society. This linear approach is inefficient and has many negative impacts on the environment. We also live on a planet with limited resources. There is an alternative, called the circular economy. Nature recycles everything – nutrients flow from one living organism to another. But our ‘linear’ economy ignores this law of nature. In a circular economy, the aim is to keep materials from being thrown ‘away’ (since there is no ‘away’). The best way to do that is to reduce consumption or design out waste before it is created. And then via re-using or recycling the product or its component parts, we keep resources in the productive economy. This approach creates a continuous cycle and capitalises on the fact that the longer an item is in use, the more value (and return on investment) can be extracted. The cycle is restorative and regenerative by design.
Why is a circular economy important?
The current economic model is reaching its physical limits. A circular economy will preserve natural resources, and not only mined minerals but also our oceans, soil, and whole ecosystems. It will minimise risks by managing limited stocks and renewable resources. Waste in a circular economy builds capital rather than reduces it. By rethinking the way we make stuff, we can design a product or its parts to be disassembled and regenerated into new products. Extending the life of a product or its parts reduces waste. In addition, a circular economy creates new business ventures and revenue streams. Examples of this are provided in the Inspiring Stories we produce each month in our newsletter stories. A circular economy means more than just putting recyclables out for collection; developing robust end markets is the key.