Tips for Everyday Circular Thinking
Updated: Jun 30, 2021
A circular economy wastes nothing and keeps materials in circulation. This is an essential part of keeping our climate below tipping points and reduce environmental catastrophe. See this 4 min video
We are developing our own plans in CARR to support local businesses to reduce materials used and keep materials in the economy, but meanwhile, why not make steps of your own.
Here are 9 tips for everyday circular thinking:
#1 Less stuff – There is no way we can carry on producing and disposing of stuff and reduce CO2 emissions enough. Thinking of buying something? Take a pause. Could you find another way round this or repurpose something else? If this purchase is not necessary, are there other pleasures and other ways to spend your income that have less negative impact?
#2 Lifecycle thinking – We must take responsibility for the whole life of the product and the
impact every stage has on the planet; extracting raw materials, processing, manufacturing, use and end of life.
Think of all the toothbrushes that have ever been made waiting centuries to decompose! Think of the impact of mining the materials for your new phone. What about the energy spent in transporting across the globe.
We need to extend the use. Will it last, is it repairable, is it flexible to changing needs? Is it recyclable? How will I repurpose the materials?
Buy carefully with this in mind.
#3 Recycle more carefully – Did you know exactly what can be recycled from our homes? Where a load gets contaminated, the batch isn’t recycled. Everything must be clean. Did you know we can recycle bottles and food trays that are and aren’t transparent. https://www.reigate-banstead.gov.uk/info/20162/your_recycling_and_refuse_service/459/what_can_go_in_each_container/4
Take some time for recycling other items at the tip, particularly all clothes and shoes.
Large supermarkets like Redhill Sainsburys are now recycling clean plastic and foil wrappings by the up escalator.
#4 Mend and repurpose - clothes, furniture and any items you can. Upcycling can be satisfying. Think of the care given in the Repair Shop (BBC series). Develop links with people with repair skills and learn from them. Support the Repair cafes when they open again (eg The Yard Repair Cafe in Reigate & , Merstham Repair Cafe).
#5 Nurture a library mentality - Think of all the tools in your street that have hardly been used. We don’t need to own everything we use.
Think library, charity shop, freecycle, using Whatsapp groups, swap parties. Children's things are often hardly used before they are grown out of. They can be used by many households before they wear out. Have you tried toy libraries?
#6 Shopping with your own containers - We’ve adapted in the UK to bringing our own bags. Now time to step this up. Not only will you avoid unnecessary packaging, but you are also engaging in buying just the quantity you need rather than the bulk buy the shop wants you to. Food waste accounts for as much CO2 emissions as the aviation industry. A third of all food is thrown away.
We have New Leaf, a ‘zero waste’ shop in Woodhatch and you can also take containers to counters in supermarkets or your local butchers - and Inside Out Health in Reigate, . What about a glass milk bottle delivery with Milk and More.
#7 Make ‘circular’ pay - Take an interest in the circular actions of the companies you use - so that they are motivated to please you, their customers, with their steps. Are they taking responsibility for the impact of their actions, considering the full life cycle of what they use?
For example, local businesses using local produce could be reducing 'food miles' among other benefits and could be appreciated all the more for it.
Support local initiatives - we will be highlighting these in our Circular Redhill and Reigate campaign.
#8 True-Cost Accounting - We all need to take into consideration the full costs associated with delivering a service, doing business, or creating a product. This could be the environmental and social cost, or imagining the harm turned back into financial cost.
How much would it cost if our pollinators were extinct and we were needing to pollinate all
our own food crops, flower by flower? How much will it cost to relocate and support the huge populations lost to sea level rise? Perhaps we need to be prepared to pay that cost.
#9 Service not product – Businesses will need to reduce the quantity and increase the quality to be ‘circular’. Businesses have greater incentives to take full responsibility for reducing material waste and managing the product life cycle if they offer the product as a service. The future will include moving to long term relationships with customers where products are leased. Businesses would then invest in durability, upgradability and repair.
“Post Disposable: A movement to make waste obsolete by designing solutions that move beyond waste as a socially acceptable concept”
To join our Circular Redhill and Reigate campaign, please get in touch via our Contact Us form