Can a circular economy offer economic growth?
More than 100 billion tons of resources enter our economy each year, anything from metals and minerals to plants and animals. As the majority of countries use a linear economy, this number has continued to soar, tripling since the 1970s.
A linear economy traditionally uses raw materials and transforms them into products that are used until they are discarded as waste, much of which is sent directly to landfill.
Less than 10% of these resources are recycled or reused, which has an alarming impact on the environment, causing an increase in toxic greenhouse gases and damage to biodiversity and human health worldwide.
Countries including the UK, France and Germany have been recognised globally for implementing robust recycling and reuse schemes, but these approaches only look at recycling and reuse as an add on rather than implementing an economic strategy with recycling and reuse at its heart.
This linear approach to economic growth is unsustainable for businesses and countries globally. The fluctuating price of resources, scarcity of materials and dependence on other countries and economies to supply materials to meet demand, leaves UK business in a very vulnerable position, with limited opportunity for growth in the future.
Long term economic growth
Introducing a circular economy approach supports long term economic growth. By using this framework existing materials and products are repaired, reused and recycled for as long as possible to extend their life cycle.
A circular economy approach aims to reduce waste by keeping products within the economy wherever possible. These can be productively used again and again, thereby creating further value in what may have previously just had one use.
Potential of a circular economy
Protect our planet and our people
In the UK and worldwide, a linear economy will soon become completely unsustainable, due to diminishing resources and the damaging effects of global warming. So in order to protect our planet and its inhabitants moving to a circular economy is the best possible solution that offers economic viability as well as growth.
Boost sustainable practices
In the short term it’s clear that sustainable businesses and products are growing in demand amongst consumers. In recent years over 85% of shoppers have become greener in their purchasing, opting for brands that implement truly sustainable initiatives such as reducing the amount of waste used or delivering net zero products and services.
By implementing a circular economy in your business, you not only future-proof your brand but also tap into a key audience of consumers willing to spend on greener products and services, encouraging business growth.
Innovation is key to promoting economic growth. By increasing productivity through innovations such as technology, businesses can generate a greater output and increase profits. A circular economy approach in itself is innovative, as it looks to reuse items to have multiple uses rather than discarding them, meanwhile many of the repurposed items can promote innovation across a range of industries.
It’s clear that our current linear economy approach is not only highly damaging to people, businesses and the environment but is also unsustainable moving forward. By introducing a circular economy framework it allows UK businesses to thrive, innovate and grow along with the people and planet.
With technology developing there are ways for businesses and retailers to implement circular economy practices and sustainable production processes within their business now.
We support a number of national bed retailers tackling mattress recycling, rejuvenation and mattress disposal to ensure these products are diverted from landfill, recycled and fed back into the economy as pristine new materials.
Discover the businesses we have already supported on our Case Studies page.