We are living in an era where people are gradually trying to lead a more sustainable life. The internet has helped us understand the hardships others face. It has also made many of us aware of the dire condition the earth is in. Concepts like organic farming and clean energy projects are big steps in the right direction. Of all the new responsible ideas that have cropped up, upcycling seems to be the most interesting.
Upcycling is the Need of the Hour
While development and implementation of organic farming and clean energy projects require people with a certain skill set, the same is not true for upcycling. By now most people know what upcycling is. It is the process of repurposing used materials in order to reduce the waste that goes to landfills. Converting liquor bottles into candle sticks is a good example of upcycling.
I found the concept of upcycling very interesting and have been doing quite a bit of research for a while now. This research of mine has led me to a concept which is much better than upcycling. As we saw, upcycling is the process of repurposing materials that are deemed waste. Now this is good, but imagine if the products are designed in such a way that there is no such thing as waste or bi-product. Welcome to the circular economy.
The Circular Design
Most existing businesses have a linear economy. Their mantra is, ‘buy, use and dispose’. In this type of economy, the earth is converted into a giant landfill. Once a product is used and worn out, it is thrown away and replaced by newer, “better” objects. The circular design looks to change this attitude.
The circular economy is a path to sustainability. Instead of the usual cradle-to-grave approach, circular design deals with a cradle-to-cradle approach. Companies who implement this concept in their business produce high quality products which have better durability and longevity. Once the products are worn out, the company provides the customer with the tools to repurpose them or they take back the products and repurpose the products themselves. The aim here is to make the customer the owner and not just a product-consumer.
The concept of a circular economy is derived from nature itself. Everything that occurs in nature, goes through a cycle. Even when an organism dies, it becomes a part of the soil and over time enriches it. So there is no real waste. People are now trying to implement this in businesses.
The circular design promotes the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. It aims to reduce waste and pollution by design.
Understanding Your Business Needs
Before implementing a circular design it is important to understand the system in which it is to be applied. Misinterpretations can lead to chaos. Transparency is critical for a circular economy to thrive.
In case of bigger commodities like automobiles or expensive furniture, people are more willing to repair instead of discarding them. It is the smaller, cheaper products which are disposed of rather casually. The circular design will completely change this outlook, and help us a long way in preserving nature.