Ask the right questions to unlock Circular Economy. With examples!
Circular Economy, undeniably, is a beautiful concept. Some might call it " a great idea of all time" to change our system from Linear to Circular.
Yet, it is not enough.
A beautiful concept needs practical action! And to act (correctly), to move the needle to the right place, we need to ask the right questions.
Shifting the whole system's paradigm requires an understanding of the way our system works.
So what governs our economy (also society)?
There are five big blocks that govern how we live nowadays. Deep dive into these blocks will shed light for you, of course, your organization to exercise Circular Economy's idea.
This sounds overwhelming, but many already catch on the wheel. Successful cases are out there. Now it is your time.
| WHAT WE EAT |
This block discusses how we produce, distribute, procure, use, and dispose of food. Rethinking farming methods, changing the current diet, or launching programs that promote food sharing within communities could all result in significant gains.
Example: Toast Ale
Globally, over 30% of our food is wasted, which not only results in a massive loss in value but also opens many potential opportunities. Bread is one of the foods that is wasted the most. Bread is thrown out at an astounding rate, both in homes and supermarkets, as a relatively cheap foodstuff with a limited shelf life. Yet, many people, including those in developed countries, suffer from food shortages.
How can we use our food resources more wisely and effectively?
Toast Ale came up with an appealing solution to combat this problem. They replace one-third of the malted grain that is used in brewing beer with discarded bread. Not only have a brand new idea, but Toast Ale also develop its network to facilitate collecting, and delivery, and incorporate bread from supermarkets, bakeries, sandwich makers, etc., into its brewing process.
| WHAT WE WEAR |
This block is about the thing we wear and the materials used to make it. What if we could transform the way we view these resources and facilitate the creation, usage, and recycling of sustainable alternatives? And how would that help to tackle the social injustice that is pervasive in the fashion industry?
Example: Clothes Doctor
“Our belief is that, due to the rise of fast fashion, consumers across the Western World have lost touch with these important skills. There is so little information available on the possibilities for repairing garments, and care labels often default to ‘dry clean only’ as a catch-all for how to clean silk, cashmere, wool and many other fabrics. With our products, services and advice, we help people reconnect with their clothing and love their wardrobe again."
Clothes Doctor offers simple and convenient garment repair services (B2B & B2C) and educates its clients about the methods and value of caring for their clothing. By making it simple and quick for customers to prolong the life of their clothing, Clothes Doctor enhances the amount of use per user. With more access to clothing care products, repair services, and education, the number of people who throw away their clothing due to damage or fading might be greatly reduced.
| WHAT WE BUY |
This session discusses the myriad of consumer goods—from technology and furnishings to toys and cleaning supplies—that we use on a daily basis. Here, it's also crucial that we talk about the motivations behind our purchases. Could design aid in mending peoples' relationships with what we buy?
Not only in the small startup company, but Circular economy's products also thrive in big corporations as well.
Signify is a true example of this kind.
An international lighting company called Signify, formerly known as Philips Lighting, makes and sells electric lights and lighting fixtures that are deployed all over the world. Going beyond the traditional way of selling lighting fixtures, Signify has a new model - "lighting as a service" (LaaS), which means consumers pay a monthly service fee for light while Signify installs, runs, and maintains the lighting systems under a LaaS contract.
The fact that Signify retains its ownership of the lighting fixtures incentivizes them to manufacture high-quality, durable, and modular equipment, enabling them to collect, reuse and recycle efficiently.
| HOW WE PACKAGE |
This block challenges you to reconsider the problematic packaging industry because there are more effective methods using materials that are ethically and sustainably to preserve products. Here, we can consider developing new materials, as well as engaging with legislators to implement top-down reform by making disposable items less appealing.
“This could be a real game-changer.”
Liz Bonnin, BBC One
With the mission of o "a world without plastic pollution", Evoware offers a wide range of plastic-free packaging, food wrapping, and sachets. These products are made out of seaweed which makes them dissolved and edible with some fresh flavor that Evoware adds on.
Millions of pieces of plastic sachet, food wrapping, and packaging made their way to the ocean and our food chain every single second. Because they are just small with no value (perception), we just couldn't care less to throw them away. The solution offered by Evoware, with the ability to be scaled up, has the potential to halt and even put an end to this problem.
| HOW WE BUILD |
The constructed world is reimagined in this question, which also examines how we create the spaces where we live, work, and play. Making circular decisions in new structures for the expanding population is part of this, as is looking into how to modify current structures and conserve precious resources.
Example: Brummen Town Hall
“The underlying idea is that the building is not a permanent structure, but should be thought of as a temporary compilation of building materials”
Kaspar Jensen, 3XN Architects
What if we can build our building like a Lego?
The problem with our traditional construction is that when a structure is no longer needed, we tear them apart. Because it is not easy to de-constructed, it is (seemly) impossible to recover materials for reuse.
So how can we capture the materials at the end of a building's use phase?
We have to start at the design stage.
There is a new town hall with a service life of 20 years (due to the shifting of the local government body) required in Brummen, Netherlands. To avoid the loss of the hall's materials after its service life, the architect created a Lego-like construction with 90% of the elements demountable and reusable.