Today’s economy is mostly a linear economy. We extract raw materials, manufacture products to use them and then throw them away.
According to the European Parliament, the Circular Economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended.
The circular economy consists in reconsidering the eco-design1 of a product; it is necessary to think from the beginning about its impact on the environment, its longevity and its cost. The word “eco” of eco-design can refer both to the word economy and ecology because we integrate both notions. Eco-design also thinks about the future of the product, i.e., repairing and reusing it.
For organic products, the challenge is first of all to reduce the over-consumption of resources. When talking about the fight against waste, we should make sure that we throw away as little as possible. Then, in terms of reuse, we can transform these biological materials into compost or biological gas. In fact, the loop is closed because in the case of compost, it will be used to grow other foods. In the case of biogas, it can be used, among other things, as a fuel for transportation. This is an alternative option with a less environmental impact than fossil fuels.
Regarding transformed products such as manufactured items, using durable materials, facilitating disassembly to make it easier to repair or recover the various parts/materials independently are options that enhance the circularity. If we take the example of a bicycle, to have the possibility to repair its parts independently instead of getting rid of the whole bike when a part of it does not work.
How to participate in the circular economy?
Great! 😊 I wanted to congratulate you already for getting this far in your reading. I’m proud that you want to become a circular economy player.
Here are some examples of tips to adopt in everyday life:
- Sort. As mentioned above, sorting what you put in the bin makes it easier to deal with waste. In addition to this, sorting in general can help us to be aware of what we over-consume, what we can reuse or give away.
- Repair. Repairing a product rather than throwing it away is a good way to save money and not participate in over-consumption.
- Sell/give, lend or rent. Some products are no longer suitable or not suitable for us, but they may be suitable for others, so we can dispose of them responsibly rather than throwing them away.
- Reuse objects in other ways. For example, you can use an old piece of clothing as a cleaning cloth, a pallet to make a table, a coat hanger for decoration, a tin can store cutlery. You can find many examples on the internet of DIY (Do It Yourself) activities to give objects a second life. It can be fun, very quick and easy to do.
- Buy second hand. More and more websites are connecting secondhand buyers and consumers. You can also go to shops that specialize in second hand or reconditioned products, whether it’s electronics, household goods, clothing and much more.
The examples are non-exhaustive. Don’t hesitate to share with us (on social networks with the hashtag #BruisedFoodClub) how you participate in the circular economy.
1 “Eco-design: The integration of environmental aspects into the product development process, by balancing ecological and economic requirements. Eco-design considers environmental aspects at all stages of the product development process, striving for products which make the lowest possible environmental impact throughout the product life cycle.” European Environment Agency
Written by Lisia MITSOKO OKIA
Fondation pour la Nature et l’Homme “Comprendre le principe de l’économie circulaire “