Das Merch X Circular Economy
HOW DOES CIRCULAR ECONOMY FUNCTIONS?
This time, we explain what are the elements of the Circular Economy and their implementation
Numerous research institutes, universities and authors are fully dedicated to the concept of circular economy. Phew, to read it all, honestly: nobody got time for that. We take a more pragmatic approach and go through points that we believe are the core circular economy principles that everyone should understand. And don’t worry, it is not a harsh reading, instead the one you would enjoy. So, let’s go.
Short & Simple: The 7 Rs of the Circular Economy
Here we present you the most important circular economy principles – the 7Rs. They combine several standards that we need to apply in order to enjoy the benefits of the new economic model. This approach simplifies the concept and encourages to rethink the way we live.
Okay, now let’s look at the individual parts a bit more carefully.
Our current economic model is based on consumption and assumes that consumption drives us forward. However, with the current development level we can cope with changes and get rid of this worn-off assumption. On a global average, one person buys five kilograms of clothing per year. Multiply this number by the number of people in our planet and you get extraordinary huge number. In Europe and the USA, consumption is even three times higher and stands at around 16 kilograms. Feel free to imagine this clothes mountain – that’s crazy! In a nutshell: refuse to think in the old way and buy only what you really need. It will be a little more sustainable.
Our increasing industrial capacity, growing personal car fleets etc. drive our energy consumption to never seen highs and renewable energy currently forms only part of energy production. You should try to reduce your personal energy consumption, usage of materials and Extend product life cycles as much as possible.
If you produce something, try to minimize the use of all necessary means to the minimum. Das Merch pursues this approach by recycling fabric remnants to produce merchandise, eliminating the need to produce new yarn and fabrics. This prolongs the life cycle of existing textiles.
We should aim to reuse products or resources. It can be done either by sharing products with others or by making something you don’t need to serve another purpose. Think, for example, of the up-cycling of pallets which are transformed into home furnishings more and more often, it even became something like a trend. Also, look to the legendary Freitag bags that are made out of the truck tarpaulins. Sharing has even additional positive externality – it brings communities closer together!
Instead of disposing of damaged or broken products right away, you can and of course should also try to repair them. This is how you can easily extend the life cycle of a product. This way of thinking is quite logical for a people with a broken zipper in a pair of jeans, but for example, broken household appliances are disposed immediately instead of having the product repaired.
But it doesn’t have to be the way! There is an opportunity to make economy grow without consuming more – your broken item can create a new job for craftsmen that specialises in fixing stuff or it could become a hobby and additional income source for elderlies, what do you think?
It’s a similar approach to repair. Refurbishing is about replacing defective product elements with new parts or about renewing and improving the appearance of the items. In this way, instead of producing the whole new item, only new bits and pieces are required and the item is working again. It saves you money and reduces environmental damaging footprint. Doesn’t it sound like an option for a better future? You can already find interesting examples – rebuilt old-style furniture forming modern interior designs, such as in our office old greenhouse tables became the key element in our showroom. Look how it looks like: our space.
Not all materials are recyclable and recycling itself is not a perpetual process, therefore we should get back at least a part of the energy we put into the item while producing it. Modern incineration facilities have highly sophisticated smoke cleaning systems, therefore can generate electricity out of our garbage by making less environmental damage than if our garbage would reach landfills and oceans.
Recycling is not just for basic household waste such as food packaging. It should cover everything we use, including both our clothes and “high-tech” waste. Especially, smartphones that we tend to often change can and should be recycled. Individual components of higher value items can either be reused or incorporated into the production of new parts. This closes the cycle. Ikea, for example, takes back certain old and used pieces of furniture, then gives them a second life and even compensates customers with vouchers. Try to come with similar ideas for both your personal and professional lives.
Nonetheless, consumption will always remain as an important aspect for us. But we can also employ the new approach to our economy. Think how could you use our resources wisely. Pay attention to what you throw away every day. Maybe parts of it can be used again? We have so many things already produced, let’s begin fixing them instead of throwing away and at the same time we would fix our economy as well.
Just think how to employ circular economy principles in a daily life!
For many problems and challenges, there is a reasonable solution or alternative. It us up to us to re-think processes and question status quo. All together we can do something good for our environment and our society.
By the way, we are always open for feedback, suggestions and new cooperations. Contact us if you would like to help us advance the merchandise revolution. We are happy about every support.
We have a few take-aways here for you, they are not delicious, but useful for the circular economy.
The following questions help you to implement circular economy principles in your everyday life:
Do I really need it?
Can I buy it second-hand?
Could I fix it instead of throwing it away?
Can it be useful for someone else?
Is the material recyclable?
Can I build / make something new out of this?
Could someone continue to use it?
Can I give it away or donate?