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An Introduction to The Circular Economy

The average lifespan of a toothpaste tube before it fully decomposes is roughly 500 years.

The lifespan of a can of soda if it is placed in a recycling bin? Around 60 days. And soon after it is recycled, you can find it right back on the shelf as a brand new can. The 1904 invention of modern aluminum recycling is now one of the most efficient cradle-to-cradle, or circular economy, practices in use today.

The most popular approach to consuming products, however, is the model of “take, make, waste.”

"Take, make, waste" refers to the way we use resources, make products, and dispose of them once they’re used. As expected, this approach is unsustainable, contributes to resource depletion and pollution, and perpetuates a whole host of other production and consumption issues that need to be halted and/or reversed in order to meet long-term sustainability goals globally.

But what if we changed the way we produce and consume products?

In the face of these escalating environmental challenges, the circular economy offers an alternative approach. As described by the Ellen MacArthur foundation, a circular approach aims to eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials, and regenerate nature. This ensures that valuable resources “are kept in circulation through processes like maintenance, reuse, refurbishment, remanufacture, recycling and composting.”

Several companies and industries are already taking a circular approach.

Food, beverage, and product manufacturers create considerable packaging waste and are examining alternatives to traditional plastics usage. Bite Toothpaste Bits, a former client of ours, has implemented circular solutions in the personal care industry by replacing plastic tubes with refillable and recyclable glass containers. Through their actions, Bite has managed to divert nearly 75,000 pounds of waste from landfills in 2022 alone.

Fashion companies also impose a severe burden on the environment and many companies, like Eileen Fisher and Patagonia, are identifying opportunities to renew and re-circulate textiles. Even further upstream, companies like Bureo are turning discarded or lost fishing nets into materials (NetPlus fabric) that companies like Patagonia can use in place of virgin plastics.

Regardless of your sector, companies benefit from re-designing systems to make better use of their resources.

Could you implement a circular solution at your company? Schedule a free consultation with us here at Everoot to learn more.

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