Going round in circles for sustainability

What is the circular economy? According to the EEF, the Manufacturers’ Organisation, some manufacturers know – but overall, very few do.

Material Recycling World reports that the EEF’s Climate and Environment Policy Adviser, Susanne Baker, spoke at a recent meeting on the subject and said that the idea of the circular economy is not currently widespread:

“We have recently collaborated with the Institute for Environmental Management Assessment and asked manufacturers about circularity. We haven’t had a full analysis of the data but initial cuts suggest that very few manufacturers are familiar with the concept.”

The meeting was held by the RSA as part of its project, “The Great Recovery”, addressing the role of design in the circular economy and in maximising efficiency. The RSA’s Co-Director for Design, Sophie Thomas, has identified four design models within the circular economy, and four ways to promote the circular economy.

The models are as follows: longevity; service; reuse in manufacture; and materials recovery. The circular economy can be improved by increasing skills within the design industry, exploring new business approaches, engaging in cross-curricular learning and networking, and encouraging recoverability through the design of packaging.

There is great value and financial benefit in promoting a circular economy, too. At Recycling Lives, we are dedicated to doing all we can to achieve maximum benefit in this way. We reuse as much material as possible, and have developed innovative processes to enable this to happen.

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in particular affords great potential to achieve a circular economy because of the metal, plastic and glass that it contains. We have created methods to produce beams from plastic and tiles from glass, both of which provide sustainable solutions to the construction industry.

Through our Community Dotcom schemes – Furniture Donation Network, Bulky Waste, Car Donation Network and Scrap Car Network – we also promote a circular economy. We collect high quality furniture, large items of waste, and scrap cars, and process them so as to maximise their potential.

Furniture is passed on to charities, which can benefit from the sale of items in showroom conditions; bulky items may also be repaired and passed on to charities, or, if beyond reuse, processed to avoid landfill. Scrap cars are either sold on or broken up for parts, which can then be sold on for reuse in other vehicles.

We also sustain a social welfare charity, helping homeless people to find work and accommodation, through our commercial activities. The charity’s Residents gain skills and work experience through placements on our sites and with our corporate partners, boosting their employability and their chance of having an independent, successful future.

Improving the circular economy throughout the UK would have a positive impact on the environment, the economy, and local communities. If you want to get involved, simply hire us for your waste management needs!