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16 February 2018

What is a circular economy?

Image by circular.flanders (on Instagram)
What is a circular economy?

A circular economy is based on a regenerative system where resources input and waste are reduced by recycling, reusing and repurposing everything. It's a contrast to a linear economy which is structured on a 'take, make and dispose' system.

A circular economy is designed to extract the maximum value from the resources used in the initial development of products. This requires innovation from businesses to discover new ways to use existing materials rather than disposing them; and resourceful thinking from individuals to repurpose old or worn items.
Why is a circular economy important?

Along with forging new opportunities for product innovation and business development, a circular economy also helps to significantly reduce waste by keeping resources in a closed loop system for as long as possible. 

From start-ups to global companies, initiatives and innovations are beginning to form the cornerstone of business production models as waste continues to mount. TerraCycle, an international recycling and upcycling company, is a great example of a circular economy initiative that takes hard-to-recycle packaging and turns it into affordable, innovative products. From plastic pens and coffee pods to gloves and beauty packaging, TerraCycle collects and recycles these products eliminating them from landfill. TerraCycle has currently recycled over 3,783,212,164 pieces of waste.

How you can help

A circular economy relies heavily on consuming differently such as reusing products for as long as possible, recycling and upcycling. We can all work towards creating a circular economy in our own lives by repairing broken objects, buying second hand items, buying and using reusable items, recycling and finding a new purpose for old items. Below is a list of ways you can participate in a circular economy within your household.
  1. Refurbish old furniture;
  2. Mend worn clothing;
  3. Recycle as much as you can;
  4. Compost instead of purchasing fertiliser;
  5. Use reusable products such as a KeepCup, shopping bag, produce bags and water bottle;
  6. Shop at second hand stores;
  7. Buy new products made using recycled materials instead of virgin materials;
  8. Repurpose objects instead of discarding them;
  9. Try to live zero waste as much as possible; and
  10. Borrow and share household items instead of buying new ones.

Author & Editor

Tracey Bailey is the founder of Biome Eco Stores and mother of two. After working in corporate communications and starting a family, she made a choice to be part of the solution to our planet's future and started Biome Eco Stores. Tracey is passionate about educating the community about living eco-friendly and sustainable lives through her extended product, chemical, health and environmental knowledge.


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