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4 Ways to Join the Circular Economy

Posted: 5:15PM July 31st, 2017 | Comments

Last semester I studied at Copenhagen Business School in Copenhagen, Denmark. During my semester abroad I took an Introduction to Sustainable Business class. The class really opened my eyes to the world of Corporate Social Responsibility. One of the main things I took away from the class was eco-effectiveness. Eco-effectiveness is the idea that we should work on the right things instead of making the wrong things less bad. The class specifically looked at how the concept of eco-effectiveness applies to our economy.

 

Today, our world revolves around a linear economy. We take a finite resource, make something, and turn it into waste. Most of the products we use everyday are even designed with built in obsolescence---battery power, tamper resistant screws, etc.

 

This is not a sustainable way to live. This is why we need to switch over to the circular economy. A circular economy creates value through reuse. Products need to be designed to extract max value while in use. Then, we need to recover and regenerate products and materials. In order for this to be successful, businesses need to redefine the value chain and create cross sector collaboration.

 

While switching to a circular economy is  something that needs to be done in the business/political world, you may be wondering - how can I help the transition to the circular economy? Here are a few small steps you can take to help break the linear economy:

 

1) Make an effort to repair.

While it may be tempting to go get a shiny new microwave when yours stops working, try to repair it first. Take it to a local repair shop and see what they can do. You have the opportunity to support a local business and the circular economy!

 

2) Bring your own travel mug to coffee shops.

Lots of coffee shops love when customers do this. It is an opportunity for shared value creation. The coffee shop saves money on packaging while also helping the environment. Some coffee shops will even give you a discount.

 

3) Bring your shirts, shoes, and jeans to a Levi’s store.

Levi’s will make sure that any item donated is either reused, repurposed, or recycled. They will give each donor a 20% off coupon too.

 

4) Borrow, rent, or share items that are used infrequently.

Keep used party decorations to gift to a friend who has an upcoming event. Instead of buying home improvement tools ask a neighbor to borrow!

 

By Rachel Feit, Grants Reseach Intern

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