What is The Circular Economy?
Wednesday 21st March 2018
The circular economy is a concept that views waste as a raw material and aims to eliminate excess waste by making the materials we create last longer and maintain value in the economy.
Let me explain. The traditional ‘linear economy’ follows a model of production and consumption where most materials experience one life, i.e. take – make – use – dispose.
Historically, items have been designed to fail. The circular economy will move us away from this wasteful system of consuming goods, it drives innovation and promotes renewable materials.
Paper Round support the circular economy and it is at the heart of our business model. In fact, our business began by collecting paper, recycling it, and transforming it back into paper again. So instead of paper being made, used once, and then disposed of, the same resource is used again and again.
The circular economy is often depicted as a series of loops, each representing the life of products that are no longer required. The loops closer to the centre create less waste and environmental pollution and have higher economic gain.
Why is the circular economy important?
The circular economy uses less raw materials. As global populations increase it is essential we maximise the potential of the available resources. The existing linear economy extracts a huge amount of raw material which is both water and energy inefficient. Manufacturing is similarly inefficient and current processes produce huge amounts of waste and pollution.
How can you support the circular economy?
This involves taking apart products at their component level rather breaking them into separate materials. For example, we offer a toner recycling service where we refill your empty cartridges, so the cartridge can be reused.
Where you sell or donate an unaltered product. With our IT and furniture recycling service, if the materials are in good condition, we will either sell or donate them.
Extending the life of a product with its first owner or making it easier to repair.
Developing products, which use fewer materials or have a smaller environmental footprint, that are designed to be more durable.
If you recycle with us, then you probably already participating in the circular economy. We can recycle most effectively when the recycling you provide is clean and free from contamination. This preserves the value of the materials, so they can be recycled to their full potential.
As previously discussed, because we turn the paper we collect back into paper, our paper recycling service supports the circular economy.
Our glass bottle recycling service can indefinitely turn glass back into glass, so this material is never wasted.
The food waste we collect is sent to Biogen’s anaerobic digestion facilities. The process creates biogas and liquid biofertilizers. The bio-fertiliser is spread on local fields to help grow crops. The biogas is used produce clean electricity which is fed into the National Grid. This electricity can now be purchased back, enabling buildings to power themselves using the food waste they have thrown away.
Our charity partner, FareShare, also contribute to the circular economy. They redistribute food (that would otherwise go to waste) from large retailers to smaller charities and soup kitchens.
We send coffee waste to biobean where it is recycled into biofuel pellets. The oils they separate out in the process are used in cosmetics.