Imagine yourself in an examination hall writing a mathematics or accountancy paper for hours, and suddenly, your pen runs out of ink. You simply toss it and get another brand new pen from that clingy bag of plastic holding ten more of single-use pens in it. Congratulations, you’ve just understood and undergone our current economic mannerisms, that is the linear economy; Production-Consumption-Disposal.
Now, what’s the problem?
It’s really simple. That pen isn’t the only item being disposed of and you’re not the only one of the 7,685,070,440 people doing so.
This production-consumption-disposal leads to a whole range of problems. Not only does it degrade our current ecosystems and cause a decrease in the lifetime of products, but it also causes price volatility and can shake the market as well as the prices of the raw materials that are required to produce such items. The linear economy has the capability of turning all of our lands into landfills and seas into sea-fills.
That pair of jeans you threw out because they don’t fit you anymore? They’re probably lying in the midst of expired Chinese wok and broken slippers on the part of Baga beach that wasn’t included in your Goa tour. So, what’s the solution? How can we convert the existing economy into a sustainable as well as a productive one?
The answer: CIRCULAR ECONOMY
A circular economy is an economic system where products and services are traded in closed loops or cycles. It’s basically taking the Production-Consumption-Disposal of the linear economy and changing it into a Production-Consumption-Regeneration loop. It’s like your natural carbon cycles or nitrogen cycles- from the earth, back to it. The circular economy is one where everyone wins.
It is an alternative to the current system, occurring in such a way that we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then regenerate materials at the end of each service life. This method will not only keep our ecosystems intact and aid in the overall well-being of the planet but also cause businesses and organizations to thrive without the guilt of waste generation.
Economic growth too would boom in a circular economy. Such an economy can generate a large number and wide variety of jobs, especially with the right policies and investments. Consumers would be more aware, and producers more profitable. For example, a Hyderabad-based company, Banyan Nation, tackles waste generated by large firms and apartments at the source. They take plastic waste and cleanse it removing all the inks, coatings, and other contaminants using environment-friendly detergents and solvents to supply near virgin quality recycled granules to brands. It reduces the energy required to otherwise generate new plastic, keeps our lands free of garbage and provides good quality plastic to other manufacturers; a perfect waste-to-resource example.
This discussion on the circular economy can go on, but there is no one better platform than the internet to know more about the advantages and disadvantages of such an economy. So, ponder upon this, and think of the little changes you can make to commence a circular economy.
After all, it’s one step at a time, and each one starts with you.
- Navyaa Shah