The Circular Economy Is a Core Conviction of the Joslyn Institute

 In Circular Economy

The Joslyn Institute’s initatives all consider working toward a circular economy. What does that mean? A circular economy is a production and consumption model which involves the design of materials and products and practices that take into account minimal raw materials consumption, then reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products to keep materials within the economy wherever possible.

A circular economy implies that waste will itself become a resource, consequently minimizing the actual amount of waste. It is generally opposed to a traditional, linear economic model, which is based on a “take-make-consume-throw away” pattern. A circular economy focuses on waste avoidance.

Moving towards a more circular economy could deliver benefits, including reduced pressure on the environment; enhanced raw materials supply security; and increased competitiveness, innovation, growth and jobs.

Increased awareness of the enormous impact of plastics on our biosphere since China quit taking our plastic recyclables, as well as the harmful effects of many other materials, has brought many manufacturers and corporations to the table, such as PaintCare, in what is known as EPR (extended producer responsibility). Municipalities and states, which have found recycling so many products and materials to be necessary but expensive, have been helpful in encouraging more producers to consider EPR in used product take-backs, material choices for raw materials, and design or products, including packaging, without affecting profits.

The circular economy includes products, infrastructure, equipment and services, and applies to every industry sector. It includes technical resources (metals, minerals, fossil resources) and ‘biological’ resources (food, fibers, timber, etc.)

Particular efforts are being made in the textile, agricultural, construction, furniture, and even automotive industries to find innovative ways to extend the life of products, find new uses for recycled materials, and reconsider raw materials usage and design in the first place. Much work remains.

The Netherlands, a world leader in economic circularity, will generate $7.3 billion Euros and 540,000 new jobs through their EC programs over the next few years.
Learn more about the circular economy at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation website.

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