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The Quest for a Circular Economy

Quest for a circular economy

A Circular Economy

The Industrial Revolution brought the human race a bevy of advancements, but unfortunately it also brought about an increase of water and air pollution, a dependence on fossil fuels, and the depletion of natural resources. As greater awareness of the consequences of our environmentally hazardous economy spreads, a call for a more circular economy is starting to be answered.

The phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle” has been part of dinner table conversation for a number of years now, a rally cry designed to motivate people at home to be more environmentally aware of the impact of waste. Sadly this message has been slow to make it up the chain to top-level manufacturers, but rising costs of raw materials and an increase in zero-waste regulations are making many companies rethink how they do business.

Since there isn’t a single route to take to get to a circular economic business model, industry leaders like Toyota, Nespresso and Dell are spearheading their own models.

Toyota has set its sights on streamlining the performance and efficiency of their vehicles, and removing waste from their production and supply chains.

By making the commitment to create packaging that is 100% recycled from their already existing packaging and to sustainably source its coffees by 2020, Nestle Nespresso is well on their way to their goal of a carbon neutral footprint.

Long a leader in the design of products with the whole life cycle in mind, Dell works to collect and recycle old products to create new plastic parts.  The process has given these plastics extended life, reduced their carbon footprint and reduced production costs all around.

While by no means “the norm” of doing business just yet, it is safe to say that the incentives to do so are increasing. As more and more companies prove that they can reduce costs and increase their bottom line by moving to a circular economy, the quest to do so will continue – to everyone’s benefit.


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Cari Oberfield