For most people, there’s no doubt in their mind that the sprouting of a tree or the deafening whipping power of a maelstrom is in no way related to, say, a skyscraper or musical symphony.
But the simple fact of the matter is that all these things, no matter how completely divorced from one another in either scope or linguistic classification, all stem from the eternal wellspring of some natural source. Humans and their creations included.
There's a world of opportunity to re-think and re-design the way we make anything. With just a change in perspective, we can re-design how our entire economy works – designing products that are “made to be made again” and powering this system with renewable energy. It questions whether with creativity and innovation we can build a restorative economy.
Our current economy sees us take resources from the ground to make products, which we use, and when we no longer want them, we throw them away. This is called a linear economy, where materials flow in a straight line - from the extraction of natural resources, via manufacturing, to over consumption, and eventually - landfill.
We can transform the system to ultimately separate economic activities from resource extraction and create a thriving economy that truly benefits everyone within the limits of our planet. A circular economy goes beyond simply sustaining what we have and focuses on driving growth which regenerates and actually improves our natural world.
First, eliminate waste and pollution -
Waste and pollution should be considered as design flaws rather than inevitable by products of the things we make. By changing our mindset and ideologies, and harnessing new materials and technologies, we can ensure waste isn’t even created in the first place.
Second, circulate products and materials -
Products can be designed to be reused, repaired, or remanufactured. But making things last forever isn’t the only solution. When it comes to products like food or packaging, we should be able to keep them in circulation, so they don’t end up in landfill.
Finally, this results in regenerating nature -
There’s no concept of waste in nature. Everything is food for something else – a leaf that falls from the tree feeds the forest. By returning nutrients to the soil and other systems, we can enhance natural resources.
Moving towards a more circular economy could deliver benefits such as reducing pressure on the environment, improving the security of the supply of raw materials, increasing competitiveness, stimulating innovation, boosting economic growth and creating jobs.
Consumers will also be provided with more durable and innovative products that will increase the quality of life and save them money in the long term.
Is your company doing something in these lines? Do you think this could be the ideal economic model of the future? Let us know what you think in the comments below!