by Lea Katrina Canizares | November 27, 2022
As the economy veers from linear to circular, there is a great opportunity that can help people create a safe and secure space for all to open up. When a circular economy is put into practice with the welfare of people and the planet in mind, this will address not only pervasive environmental challenges but also social ones.
Every year, more than 100 billion tons of resources, including metals, minerals, fossil fuels, and organic materials derived from plants and animals, enter the market. Only 8.6% of waste is recycled and reused, and resource use has increased threefold since 1970. In a study by McGinty (2021), he stated that if current trends continue, it might increase by another twofold by 2050.
Overconsumption has destructive consequences for people, wildlife, and the environment as a whole. In a circular economy where waste and pollution are eradicated, products and resources are maintained in use for a longer time and natural systems can regenerate. This is now more critical than ever for society.
The circular economy model presents us with a fresh opportunity for innovation and integration between commercial enterprises, everyday life, and waste disposal management. It is a concept that has evolved over decades to become a viable substitute for current wasteful methods of unfettered consumption. It involves little in the way of consumer or business sacrifice and is gradually becoming the standard.
The design, maintenance, repair, reuse, refurbishment, and recycling of this system would be revolutionary as it presents a new rational way of thinking about the use and disposal of items. At its core, a circular economy model’s fundamental goal is to eliminate waste through design. In essence, it is founded on the notion that waste does not exist. Products are tailored for a cycle of disassembly and reuse that will make it easier to handle, convert, or renew them.
By reducing resource extraction and keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees, the circular economy has been proposed as a solution to the ecological crisis (Sutherland, 2022). The circular economy is deemed as a holistic approach with social and ethical considerations that could help pave the way for a brighter and more inclusive future for everybody. By properly utilizing natural resources and addressing climate issues, working towards a circular economy can contribute to the conservation of human health and biodiversity in a wide range of ways.
Through sustaining adaptive and flourishing local economies, the circular economy has the ability to address societal crisis and injustice, provide a more equitable management of resources, and generate new and quality jobs. Opportunities in more linear industries may go, but new jobs will be generated in industries like recycling, in services like repair and renting, or in start-up businesses that utilize secondary materials in novel ways. In addition to businesses, the environment, and the overall economy, individuals will also gain substantial benefits from the circular economy that ranges from higher discretionary income to improved living conditions and related health implications.
Partaking in the circular economy is an essential step in the battle against climate change and sustainability. For circular businesses, addressing social issues are important in enhancing influence and awareness. Scaling value and circular models might be aided by considering any potential drawbacks. It is crucial to take into account the potential repercussions for the stakeholders—workers, communities, and users—when designing circular practices.
Being ecologically and socially responsible begins with creating mindful decisions that diminish negative ecological and social consequences—and it starts with us. The circular economy supports the creation of a cohesive and unified impact and approach by fostering open, honest dialogues that fuels the discussion of one’s beneficial impact and role on both people and the environment.