Sustainability must start from the very top of the economy to make the biggest impact. Holding companies accountable to follow circular economy standards would make that possible. It can help everyday people by providing a sustainable perspective for everyday economic activities, as well.
What is a Circular Economy?
In a circular economy, manufacturers design products to be reusable.Government of the Netherlands
In more words:
A circular economy is an economic system aimed at minimising waste and making the most of resources. This regenerative approach is in contrast to the traditional linear economy, which has a ‘take, make, dispose’ model of production.Wikipedia
Instead of focusing solely on individual citizens’ actions, supporting a circular economy reminds us that it is businesses and corporations that create the very products that pollute the earth, thus leaving them with an immense responsibility to mandate sustainable production processes from beginning to end.
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The Linear Economy & Recycling Economy are Failing Us
Simply put, a linear economy creates items that are inherently destined to pollute. Plastics that are useless after being recycled, huge amounts of plastics, items of poor quality, tiny items that can’t serve a long-term purpose… they all end up as litter, ocean pollution, or landfill leachers.
A recycling economy is hopeful and helpful, but we can’t depend on recycling alone to save our planet. While it’s great that recycling is a possibility, most items that are able to be recycled can’t be recycled indefinitely.
Why Do We Need a Circular Economy?
To state it simply, we need a circular economy in order to drastically decrease the amount of natural resources that we consume as well as the amount of waste that we generate. The less we create and buy products from non-renewable resources, the less harm we do to the Earth. This definitely needs to start with companies adopting more circular economic models and sustainable business practices. We still have our role to play, though. Taking the 8Rs of a Circular Economy in to mind, here’s how we can be more sustainable each and every day.
The 8Rs of a Circular Economy
The “Rs” started several years ago as a catchy way to remind everyone of how the circular economy could work for them. Over the years, the Rs have changed, and more have been added. Being an active participant in creating a circular economy has been broken down into easy-to-remember steps called the 6, 7, or 8Rs. Let’s examine them more closely:
I believe that rethinking our every action will be the most transformative step in a sustainable lifestyle journey. We shouldn’t stick to the status quo, which is harming our planet. We must rethink how things are made, why things are made, how we buy things, how much we buy, etc. This will help us understand our role and the economic and capitalistic role in pollution and climate change. When we rethink, we allow ourselves to grow.
Read more: Minimalism – From Fear to Acceptance
Fix what ya got! Yes, I meant what I said right there. Use what you have, fix it up, and make it work longer. Repairing what we already own is nothing new. Before it became so easy to buy new items, people had to keep what they had and fix it all of the time. Found a hole in your sock? Fix it. Your washing machine stopped working. Repair it. The table leg is more than a little wobbly? Mend it.
Read more: DIY Upcycled Thrift Store Decor
Repurpose and reuse the items you already have. If you find that a lot of your items can’t be reused past their original purpose, you can start to invest in things that will be more easily reused in the future.
Stop buying so much stuff! When you reduce the amount of things coming into your home, you also reduce the amount of items that go out and hopefully end up recycled, and not in waterways and on land.
Read more: Buy Less, Choose Well, Make It Last
Refuse buying a new wardrobe every season. Say no to junk toys that temporarily appease kids. Once you rethink and understand all that contributes to waste, refuse as many wasteful habits as you are able to.
Read more: Say “NO!” to Plastic Straws – Use Reusable Straws, instead.
We often see recycling as a final answer, but is only part of the solution. When we recycle, it’s great! Rinse your bottles and can out and place them in the correct recycling bins. However, there is a rise in recycling centers unable to process all that they receive. The US used to sell its recycling to other countries, but that has ended for the most part. This leads to more pollution.
Read more: 100+ Ways To Recycle Beyond the Bin
This reminds me of thrifting! We are guilty of discarding useful items all of them time. When possible, recover discarded items and give them a new life.
Read more: DIY Thrifted Dresser Remodel
Social etiquette says not to regift items, but that’s silly. Social etiquette like that is part of the reason we are in the polluted Earth mess we’re in right now. Y’all better get to regifting and sharing gifts that are sustainable, useful, and regiftable! Think long-term when you buy things for other people. If you wait until the last minute, just give them money! No card necessary – you know it will be kept in a box forever, or trashed immediately or eventually.
Read more: Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas, like gifting your used glass jars.
Share the 8Rs of a Circular Economy!
I got a little over-zealous when I was creating the images for this post. I love design haha! So take these and share them! Give me some credit when you do, please. And have FUN! Learning more about sustainability is so exciting, y’all!