14.5 Waste: The Circular Economy

Author: Mikayla Densa

ABSTRACT: Circular economy is a model intending to produce sustainable development while increasing economic regrowth through methods such as reusing, repairing, repurposing, and recycling. In order to take items that are obsolete and create new resources.

(Retrieved from “Circular Economy.” SRIP, srip-circular-economy.eu/.)

MAIN:

Circular economy is a concept combining both business and environmental endeavors to ensure the correct ways of eliminating waste while repairing our economy. This model aims to be beneficial to our planet as it removes waste as being an identifiable problem or expense and uses it as a resource. Preceding within this route, costs are reduced while jobs flourish creating a friendlier environment (Government of Canada). Circular economy opposes the traditionally used idea of the linear economic system. This is a dominant ideology based on the “take-make-dispose” mantra, using an endless supply of resources for product development and simply discarding them into a landfill, this concept is based solely on wealth generation (Republica). While circular economy strives to conserve resources we utilize and is used to produce a functional system that initiates advancements within the epidemic of climate change. The three core principles of a circular economy are to eliminate waste and pollution, to allow materials and products to stay in use as well as regenerating our natural resources (Republica).

If enacted correctly and in a constructive manner, a circular economy has the potential to result in many benefits. One of the biggest being that it is possible it could reduce greenhouse gasses by 70% while growing the workforce by 4%, thus resulting in a low carbon economy (Stahel). Rise in population and hyper-consumerism creates mass effects of environmental matters. This solution may act as a way to renew resources in closed loop systems ultimately minimizing wastes while allowing the economy to thrive (Stahel). This in return defines waste as performing in a loop which increases room for environmental change, less energy consumption when reprocessing materials, increasing recycling from 6% to much larger, and reworking plastics (Geng). Waste is now viewed as a strategy allowing us to reduce the exploitation of natural resources and generate less waste in production, giving us sustainable materials and to compress biomass through production efficiency (Delchet).

Furthermore, the implementation of this concept would retain profit and develop economic strategies. With methods such as redefining how products are made within distribution, focusing on instilling it through networks and companies, as well as development of new policies could increase profit (Korhonen). In addition, resources are used more productively as there is room for innovation, creating new jobs that will all go back into the economy and allowing the user to now be a creator. This will promote new business models, produce niche skilled workers, cheaper production and possibly increase GDP (Stahel).

This may be a path in mending the growing repercussions of climate change as it can contribute to a zero emissions economy through zero waste (Durán-Romero).

By educating ourselves on current realities of climate change we stand a chance to adopt roles such as using the principles of circular economy. Conscious buying and re-evaluating what you purchase and how you contribute to your carbon footprint poses a question to ask how we dispose of things or ideas we may one day develop. Taking account of its lifecycle, innovation and business as it is hugely at play (Delchet).

A circular economy provides an opportunity to try and alter climate change’s current path, if enacted by governments it could completely change our environmental footprint as a whole, without sacrificing our economy and quality of living. The conservation of energy, natural resources and limiting the pollution within the air, our oceans and our earth are extremely important.

RESOURCES:

“Benefits of Circular Economy.” Republica, Dec 14 2019, ProQuest. Web. 22 Apr. 2022 .

Canada, Environment and Climate Change. “Government of Canada.” Canada.ca, / Gouvernement Du Canada, 21 Mar. 2022, https://www.canada.ca/en/services/environment/conservation/sustainability/circular-economy.html

Delchet, Karen. Circular Economy: From Waste Reduction to Value Creation. vol. 3., ISTE Ltd, 2020.

Durán-Romero, Gemma, et al. “Bridging the Gap between Circular Economy and Climate Change Mitigation Policies through Eco-Innovations and Quintuple Helix Model.” Technological Forecasting & Social Change, vol. 160, 2020, pp. 120246.

Geng, Yong, Joseph Sarkis, and Raimund Bleischwitz. “Globalize the Circular Economy.” Nature (London), vol. 565, no. 7738, 2019, pp. 153-155.

Korhonen, Jouni, Antero Honkasalo, and Jyri Seppälä. “Circular Economy: The Concept and its Limitations.” Ecological Economics, vol. 143, 2018, pp. 37-46.

Stahel, Walter R. “The Circular Economy.” Nature (London), vol. 531, no. 7595, 2016, pp. 435-438.

BIOGRAPHY

Mikayla Densa is a fourth year student at Ryerson University. Currently, studying Fashion Design, she is on her way to obtaining her bachelors degree.

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