Three Ways Organizations Can Prepare for the Circular Economy
This summer, Starbucks built on previous commitments to the circular economy by pledging to eliminate plastic straws from their stores by 2020, replacing them with a novel recyclable lid design.
The coffee house giant was just the latest in an increasingly long line of corporations such as Philips, H&M, Unilever, Renault, Nike, and Google that have abandoned the linear “take, make and dispose” industrial model in favor of a more sustainable approach.
Corporate leaders have been heading in this direction for many years. It’s not just about protecting the planet by reducing carbon emissions and the amount of trash ending up in landfills. We must also preserve resources to assure we can continue producing enough goods to meet rising demand. With the global population expected to swell to 8.6 billion by 2030, we simply cannot afford to continue exhausting finite resources.
This is precisely where a circular economy comes into play. With this model, companies design products fully intending that when they reach the end of their lifecycle, they will be recovered, recycled and returned to use in a closed, waste-eliminating loop.
Until recently, the idea of a circular economy was more of an aspiration than a defined goal for most companies. But many nations are beginning to embrace the concept, and some governments are compelling businesses to do the same. In Europe, for example, the European Union’s Circular Economy Package (CEP) now requires many companies operating in the EU to ensure their products can be recycled.