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What Is the Circular Economy?

Supporting the local economy by choosing local suppliers in a supply chain is one way to create some positive momentum. It's also time to to think about how daily operations are affecting the sustainability of the planet.

The circular economy refers to an approach to business that prioritises the well-being of planet earth over profits, with supply chains dedicated to reducing the environmental impact of operations. This important concept has the potential to create great change heading into the future, which is why it’s worth learning more about now. 


Switching From the Linear to Circular Economy


In a linear economy, businesses emphasise a traditional order of things, with products moving from production to consumption and being thrown away once they have served their purpose¹.

In a circular economy, waste does not factor into the equation, and raw materials are used and designed to be reused elsewhere, preferably numerous times. The circular economy is meant to turn waste into the latest raw material, in a bid to help preserve the health of the planet. In an ideal world where this approach works well, companies across industries will exchange waste (raw materials) in order to use as little as possible to reach their output targets.


The Core Principles of the Circular Economy


The circular economy is grounded on three basic principles, namely designing out waste, keeping products in use for as long as possible, and helping to regenerate natural systems to encourage sustainable supply chains².

These encourage following the natural cycles of the world, rather than simply stressing high output targets. The circular economy attempts to optimise resources in a way that gradually improves the quality of life for people from different walks of life in the current system. 


Benefits to the Global Economy


Recent research suggests that the circular economy presents an economic opportunity of around $4.5 trillion³. This showcases its potential to create new jobs, free up resources for innovation, and to encourage the rise of sustainable business models that can make a tangible difference. The more the circular economy succeeds, the less need there will be for businesses adopting linear principles.


Shifting To Sustainable Suppliers


If your business is starting to make a shift with a view towards encouraging the circular economy, a good place to start is to work with sustainable suppliers that already have this kind of approach embedded in their mission statement.

MPC has long been a reputable plastic product supplier, and for decades has continued to set the bar for using recycled plastics in order to reduce the burden on South African landfills.

Sourcing your plastic products from a responsible supplier means prioritising a world where sustainability takes centre stage. Isn't that exactly what the circular economy is about at the end of the day?


References


  1. In-House Editorial. (n.d.). From a linear to a circular economy | Circular economy. Government.nl. Retrieved March 3, 2022, from https://www.government.nl/topics/circular-economy/from-a-linear-to-a-circular-economy 
  2. In-House Editorial. (2020, February 21). Circular Economy - Definition, Principles, Benefits and Barriers. Youmatter. Retrieved March 3, 2022, from https://youmatter.world/en/definition/definitions-circular-economy-meaning-definition-benefits-barriers/ 
  3. McGinty, D., & Craven, P. (2021, February 3). 5 Opportunities of a Circular Economy. World Resources Institute. Retrieved March 3, 2022, from https://www.wri.org/insights/5-opportunities-circular-economy