Why We Should Move Towards a Circular Economy and How Rethinking Waste Can Help

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Guest Blog Written By: Erich Lawson

The term ‘circular economy’ is gaining ground in business and industrial circles everywhere, for very good reason. It refers to a system where materials are regenerated and make their way through a closed loop instead of being discarded after a single use. Effective recycling and waste management play a huge role in this system, so let’s look at how and why these are important.

Why Do We Need to Embrace the ‘Circular Economy’ Approach?

There are a number of benefits to adopting the sustainable circular economy mindset, especially for businesses. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should consider it:

  1. Waste Incineration is a Poor Solution – Often marketed as a waste-to-energy process, incineration is not an effective or renewable source of fuel. Burning discarded materials is wasteful, expensive, and generates a massive amount of toxic emissions that contribute to air pollution and climate change.
  2. Closed-Loop Production Saves Money – A circular economy approach offers companies the option to reduce net production costs, particularly in terms of raw material. Recycling discarded products into fuel sources, by-products and raw materials adds value at a lower cost than using virgin raw materials.
  3. Recycling Generates New Revenue – For many businesses, processing waste with a compactor, shredder or other recycling equipment creates an opening for revenue side-streams. Disassembled, repurposed and pre-used products or materials can be sold to other manufacturers and recycling companies.
  4. Customer Relationships Are Improved – The main principles of a circular economy improve customer relationships, brand loyalty, data acquisition and reverse logistics. These may open up opportunities for generating additional value and services, such as performance or energy efficiency upgrades for existing products.
  5. Long-Term Resilience Becomes Easier – Substituting renewable, bio-based or reclaimed materials in place of critical or limited-supply key materials can help build long-term resilience for your business. There won’t be much of a difference right away, but it helps with sustainable manufacturing in the long run.

What Are the Top 5 Recycling Solutions for a Circular Economy?

There’s a huge range of innovative closed-loop solutions available for practically every industry, and here are some of the main recycling solutions you should consider adopting:

  1. Recycling Paper Products – Paper, corrugate and cardboard can be recycled into new products for a wide range of applications, right from recycled paper to construction and packaging material. Using industrial paper shredder equipment allows you to destroy sensitive data and make recycling easier.
  2. Recycled/Recyclable Packaging – Product packaging is generally the main source of waste generation from any product, regardless of the type or application. For manufacturers embracing the circular economy approach, the use of recycled and recyclable material for packaging is a crucial step.
  3. Composting Bio Waste – Food and garden waste can easily be turned into nutrient-rich fertilizers for commercial and residential applications through composting. The anaerobic decomposition of food, plant and human waste can also be used to generate biogas, a renewable energy source.
  4. Reclaiming Scrap Tires – Tires that reach the end of their useful life are often dumped in landfills, but they can instead be used to produce low-cost fuel, construction material and much more. Tire shredding and grinding reduces landfill waste and boosts sustainable closed-loop production as well.
  5. Controlling E-Waste – Technology has made life easier, but discarding electronic equipment in landfills is both wasteful and an ecological hazard. Recycling materials and product components from cellphones, computers and other e-waste saves production costs as well as the environment.

If you haven’t explored the benefits of embracing circular economy principles, now is the time to do it!

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About the Author: Erich Lawson is very passionate about the environment and is an advocate of effective recycling. He writes on a wide array of topics to inform readers on how modern recycling equipment can be used by industries to reduce monthly wastage bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about environment saving techniques by visiting his blog on Compactor Management Company.