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WHAT IS THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY? (And What Can We Do To Create One?)

by Mimmi Sandstroem |

We live in a 'throw-away' culture. Unfortunately, our economy is based on a model in which items are made in great number and at great cost for people and planet. 

overloaded bin with rubbish

These things are then consumed or used for a short period of time before being thrown away. 

Often, the items end up in landfill or polluting our wider environments. 

When we adopt a circular economy approach, we are removing our support for such damaging systems. 

Seastraws wants to help individuals become part of a circular economic model. 

By providing items as alternatives to disposable straws, cups and bottles, we aim to help everyone reject our current system and move more towards a system that is better for people and planet. 

 

What is a Circular Economy?

In a circular economy, design and manufacture lead to products which are sold to consumers. 

Yet, unlike in our current linear economy, such items are not then simply thrown away at the end of their useful life to become a problem in our waste streams. 

Instead, they are re-used, repaired or recycled, both within the home and then, when this is no longer practicable, externally. The materials of which they are made are returned to the design and manufacturing process, to begin life anew. 

grow new plants

Why Adopt a Circular Economy Approach?

A circular economy provides hope that humanity can create a better and more ethical economic system.

 Considering how goods can be passed through a circular economy can help us to understand which goods are sustainable options – and which are not. 

Developing newer, better, recycling models can help us to tackle the huge and mounting waste problem we face. 

Both in the home and in the wider social and political sphere, the circular economy model can help us to improve resource management, improve resilience in the face of future shortage, and, of course, reduce the environmental impact of production and consumption.

 

How Can Individuals Play Their Part in a Circular Economy?

A circular economy can only work with the input and co-operation of every level of our society. Politicians, businesses, individuals and their communities must all play their part. 

As individuals, each of us can do our part, first and foremost, by thinking carefully about the things that we buy. 

We can reduce our overall consumption, buying only items which truly add value to our lives, which were manufactured responsibly and ethically, and which can be reused or recycled at the end of their useful lives. 

 

Next, we can consider how each and every item we own can be reused or repaired, to prolong its useful life for as long as possible. 

Learning new DIY and practical skills like sewing, woodworking skills and gardening can help us play our part. 

 

Finally, we must recycle wherever possible, both at home, and using local and national recycling schemes. 

By reducing, reusing and recycling we can all play our roles in a circular economy and move towards a sustainable, zero waste lifestyle.

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