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What is circular economy, and why do we need it?

Overconsumption caused by unlimited growth is the root problem of the climate crisis we are facing today. Every year, we use up 1,8 times more natural resources than the Earth can produce. Adding to that, more than 78 percent of those materials are used only once. If we want to continue living on this planet, we need to make fundamental changes in our consumption habits.

The solution is a shift to the circular economy. This model of production and consumption aims to keep resources in the economy as long as possible. It creates a circle of use of the materials without them ever falling out of the system. Therefore, this model eliminates the concept of waste and pollution.

By shifting from the consumer to the user of goods, the circular economy is relying on a few simple actions within the economic system. Those are:

Sharing. This aspect is about using items collaboratively to increase their usage and value. Examples of sharing include vehicle sharing platforms, sharing of various tools and equipment, excess food supplies.

Renting. Similar to sharing, renting products aims to prolong the usage of goods. The only difference between those two actions is the fee and the amount of time spent using goods.

Source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Reusing. In a circular economy, manufacturers aim to produce goods that are reusable. Because of that, products, which have already fulfilled their primary purpose, can be used for a different one without remaking them.

Upcycling. The process of upcycling is about transforming used materials into new, higher-value items. This way, used materials can be fed up back to the market. Classic examples of upcycling are turning unusable tires into belts or plastic bottles into pieces of clothing.

Recycling. Similar to upcycling, recycling also aims to transform used materials that would otherwise be considered waste into new products. By doing this, materials can be used multiple times.

ReGeneration 2030’s Circulents project is focusing on educating youth in the Nordic and Baltic Sea region on circular economy. If you want to be a part of this working group, fill up the volunteer form.


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