There is a world of opportunity to rethink and redesign the way we make and use stuff. Designing waste out of the system will help protect and restore a durable use of the resources on Earth and decouple economic growth from resource constraints. 

#Circular Economy

PROBLEM

The world’s current linear growth model is highly dependent on finite resources, exposing it to resource volatility, limited gains in productivity, and huge loss of value through waste.

If nothing is done to address the current situation, total demand for constrained resource stocks (like biomass, fossil energy, and many metals) is expected to reach 130 billion tons by 2050. That’s up from 50 billion in 2014. Even with an optimistic forecast for technological innovation, the economy is unlikely to be able to produce more than 80 billion tons, leaving a shortfall of around 40 billion tons by 2050. Such shortages will expose countries and companies to significant risks.

Applying circular economy principles we can catalyse this change, achieve a real system shift, and open a new era of growth and development, decoupled from resource constraints.  Carbon dioxide emissions would halve by 2030, relative to today’s levels. Primary material consumption measured by car and construction materials, real estate land, synthetic fertiliser, pesticides, agricultural water use, fuels, and non-renewable electricity could drop 32% by 2030 and 53% by 2050, compared with today. (Dame Ellen MacArthur​, Founder Ellen MacArthur Foundation)

 

BUSINESS MODELS

Ecodesign

Design products with special consideration for the environmental impacts of the product during its whole lifecycle.

Success stories

  • The Humble Co (bamboo toothbrushes, available in 20,000 stores around the world)
  • Ecover (ecologically sound cleaning products, world’s largest cleaning products company by sales )

Waste collection

Educate and give incentives to the population to collect waste, and sell it to a recycling partner.

Success stories

Recycling

Convert waste into new material or objects.

Success stories

Product life extension / Upcycling

Material that otherwise would be wasted is maintained or even improved, such as through remanufacturing, repairing, upgrading or re-marketing.

Success stories

Product as a service / Rental

Customers use products through a lease or pay-per-use arrangement versus the conventional buy-to-own approach.

Success stories

SUCCESS STORIES

Waste Concern

Waste Concern collects organic waste and send it to food processing centers to turn it into compost for horticulture and agriculture.  Waste Concern makes money by selling compost such as fertilizers to farmers and enterprises.  The firm employs impoverished citizens to collect organic waste. This involves creation of several small-scale enterprises in different neighbourhoods, which acts as part of a de-centralized waste management model.  Their operations include house-to-house waste collection, composting of the collected waste by sending them to the composting plants and marketing of the compost and recyclable materials to interested buyers and businesses. 

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Too Good To Go

Too Good To Go is an app which uses a geo-targeted map to show users the restaurants closest to them with leftover food available for collection at special time, at great price.   Too Good To Go sells food that they buy from the stores at a great price. Stores make extra cash on food that would have otherwise cost them to throw out.   Customers win by getting a great value meal – collecting tasty food at a reduced price.
There is the option for the user to donate £1 alongside his purchase, which will go towards providing a meal to someone who needs it.

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