The planet is urging us to re-design, re-think and re-purpose the way we produce and consume. The only possible future is circular, and there is no turning back. Design is a crucial tool to help us shift from our current linear economy to a circular one. But as all changes, this shift begins with information and awareness.
THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY EXPLAINED
To understand the circular economy, we first need to look at our current economic system, the so-called linear economy. In a linear economy, we extract natural resources from the planet, transform these materials into specific products for our consumption and discard them, generating garbage and pollution. In a linear economy, products, systems and services’ design do not consider the reuse and recirculation of resources – materials and components.
The strategy to stimulate the economy is to design products that become obsolete and replaced as quickly as possible. It is all about creating a desire for consumers always to seek the new, the most updated version, with no room for questions such as: Do I need this? How could I extend my computer or phone lifecycle?
A circular approach to the economy challenges us to embody nature’s cyclical model, in which everything circulates and nothing is lost. Resources are kept in use as much as possible, then recovered and regenerated at the end of their life cycle.
It is a huge challenge and a real revolution, probably the greatest of our times. But this does not mean that the circular economy is a utopia or unattainable. Through design, its primary tool, and a collaborative mindset, this approach offers us a practical and accessible model for shifting to a circular economy and building a sustainable future.
The circular economy’s three fundamental principles are:
– Design waste and pollution out
– Keep products and materials in use
– Regenerate natural systems
Implementing a circular economy is not only urgent but also possible and profitable. As in nature, everything can and should be repurposed into valuable resources, including humankind’s most damaging invention: waste.
*ph credits: Courtesy of HeartEarth / FormaFantasma/ Courtesy of Magis