Definition of a circular economy: The circular economy is a systems solution framework that tackles global challenges like climate change, biodiversity, waste and pollution. It aims to redefine how we create products to design out waste and encourages access over ownership.
As we say goodbye to October and start anew in November, we must not forget the impact and opportunities of participating in the circular economy.
What started as a way to engage Canadians on the issues of waste one week of the year evolved into a whole month dedicated to educating and supporting individuals to transition to a circular economy. As a result, NoSUP Canada proclaimed October 2022 as Circular Economy Month this year.
This month, we’ve learned quite a bit from the Circular Innovation Council and our peers in this space.
There are three principles to the circular economy and questions we should ask ourselves:
1. Eliminate waste and pollution: What happens to this at the end of its life?
2. Circulate products and materials: Will this product go through a technical cycle, maintenance and repair, or a biological cycle where materials are composted?
3. Regenerate nature: Are we reducing the extraction of virgin materials to help nature have more room to thrive?
We began to think about how the circular economy can transform the plastic manufacturing industry and our actions.
1. By investing in proper recycling methods or eliminating the production of plastic, we’re reducing carbon emitted through the incineration of plastic.
2. We can reduce plastic waste when we proactively shop at zero-waste businesses and share marketplaces.
3. We can also keep bodies of water cleaner by eliminating plastic. This has a direct effect on protecting marine life.
4. Limiting the extraction of raw materials when we find better plastic alternatives will allow natural resources to thrive.
5. Implementing the extended producer responsibility (ERP) will incentivize manufacturers to create resource-efficient and low-impact products and innovate towards designing out waste.
6. A sharing economy will encourage more trust, choice, flexibility, and opportunities for access for everyone.
The circular economy presents an optimistic opportunity to reap economic, environmental, and social benefits, so let’s start working towards achieving that future.