Circular Economy: where to start?

Like some other aspects of sustainable business practice, the circular economy requires you to think about your business in a very different way. It may feel very daunting to know where to start since it is a new business model and is almost like learning to speak in a different language. Here’s the definition of The Circular Economy:

A circular economy aims to maintain the value of products, materials and resources for as long as possible by returning them into the product cycle at the end of their use, while minimising the generation of waste. Source: Eurostat

The linear economy treats resources as exploitable for your business needs and then discards them at the end of their use, as waste. The Circular Economy treats your “waste” as a resource, keeping it in the value chain and reducing the need for new resources to be extracted from the earth.

Start small, think big

Start with your waste. Instead of thinking of it as something to throw “away”, think of it as a resource that can be reused or recycled. This will begin to change your thinking on the linear economy and move towards circular thinking.

Take a look at our Waste Resources Page as a starting point on how to manage your waste to minimise it by reusing or recycling as much as you can.

Your supply chain or production cycle 

Look at your supply chain or production cycle from a circular perspective. Can you make any quick wins to keep resources within the cycle?

Assess your supply chain and question whether you can find replacements for new materials with recycled or repurposed materials. Talk to your suppliers, they may already be examining new ways of doing things or be aware of alternatives that you haven’t considered.

The benefits of operating in the Circular Economy

These include:

  • more innovative and efficient ways of producing and consuming
  • protection for businesses against scarcity of resources and volatile prices
  • opportunities for local jobs and social integration
  • optimisation of waste management which boosts recycling and reduces landfill
  • energy savings as less production processes requires less energy
  • benefits for the environment in terms of climate and biodiversity, air, soil and water pollution

 You can take your first step by doing our free Green Zebra Audit.