What is circular economy ?

The word ‘circular economy’ is being used a lot lately, but what exactly does it mean? At SHYNE Eyewear, our entire philosophy of turning plastic into possibility surrounds this very idea. Keep reading to learn more about what exactly the ‘circular economy’ entails, and how you can incorporate it into your own life!

According to the MacArthur Foundation, the circular economy is based on “the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.” This method seeks to create a continuous cycle of resources, ensuring that all materials and products can be reused, repaired, and remanufactured. Currently, we live in a linear economy. Resources are taken from the planet to make products, and when we no longer need them, they’re thrown out. This isn’t sustainable, and you’re probably used to hearing about it. You could hear all the statistics in the world (did you know that every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck full of textiles is thrown into landfills or burned?) and that wouldn’t mean anything if we don’t act. So what do we do?

Integrating this concept into your life isn’t rocket science. In fact, you’ve probably been doing it anyway – you just don’t know it! The statement ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ is a clear, succinct way to summarize the entire idea of the circular economy.

First, reduce the amount of waste you create to begin with by eliminating single use items like plastic bags and disposable cutlery. This also extends to food waste: be more diligent with your consumption.

Next, reuse products when they reach the end of their useful lives. When you see a broken appliance or a worn object, the instinct may be to just throw it in the trash. Don’t! Chances are, there are tons of associations or recycling centers in your area who’d be willing to take your old clothes, appliances, electronics, and books. Create a list of mid-year resolutions and pick up a new skill, like sewing, which will help you repair your worn clothes and get more use out of them, or better yet, be more mindful when shopping and look for clothes that will hold up (here’s one of our blog posts all about making better clothing purchasing decisions).

This speaks to another concept that the circular economy calls for: consuming differently. This includes buying new things only when necessary, making deliberate choices by doing research and getting information, eating only fruit and vegetables that are in season, buying fair trade products, and purchasing food with little packaging. There is also the option of going to zero waste stores, which allow customers to bring their own containers and purchase goods that are sold in bulk. Lauren Singer, an environmental activist who’s famous for filling four years of trash into one jar, opened her own zero waste shop called Simply Co. to fit this very purpose.

Collaborative consumption is another idea that’s rising in popularity lately. It’s built around the idea that use predominates ownership, so you can try it by sharing items with your neighbours like drills or washing machines.

The circular economy concept has been around for hundreds of years. Though completely changing our society into truly going circular is not easy, and would require an immense cultural shift, that doesn’t mean we can’t do our best to integrate it into our lives at home. Doing so can help us be better, more mindful, and environmentally conscious global citizens.

Need a pair of sunglasses? Support SHYNE! Our entire philosophy is based around the circular economy concept. Click here to browse some frames!

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