The Benefits of a Circular Economy

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What exactly is a Circular Economy? And why should we be aiming to transform the broken Linear and Recycling Economies that we are currently stuck in?
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The vast majority of Americans have never heard of the term “circular economy”, so what exactly is a circular economy?

In order to best understand the complexities behind a circular economy, we must first investigate how our current systems function and why. Today, American consumerism operates in a “linear” economy, imposing an impossibly large load on our current recycling and waste systems.


The Losing Linear Economy

A Linear Economy is an all-encompassing term that takes on a “take, make, use, dispose”1 approach to goods. More specifically, linear consumerism begins when we extract resources from our environment, develop them into products, distribute and use them as needed, and ultimately dispose of any excess waste. This includes, but is not limited to, packaging, product pieces or parts, and other waste. 

When we adhere to a linear system, we are effectively guaranteeing that significantly more waste will be heading to landfills, as there is currently no successful way to ensure these materials are recycled or reused. 

Visual representation of linear economy, recycling economy, and circular economy, using garbage cans to represent how much waste is being disposed of with recyclables in each type of economy.
How recyclables can end up as waste in the Linear, Recycling, and Circular Economies.

A Linear Economy guarantees our materials head to either landfill or worse, leaking into our environment. There is no new life for recyclables in this type of economy, it only results in more waste.

In addition to the Linear Economy, the Recycling Economy is somewhat less wasteful…

A Recycling Economy is in part circular, diverting waste from the landfill temporarily but ultimately contributes to global waste.

Why does it have to be this way?

Back in the 1980s2, people were concerned that plastics were not only bad for their health but also the environment, so the plastics industry worked tirelessly to start a campaign promoting recycling. At the time, they thought that recycling was the answer to fix the problems with plastic. This is when recycling took a major role in how we handle our waste, a system that we still use today. 

The current Recycling Economy is attempting to be circular but falls short, ending up as a linear system, as those materials eventually are unable to be recycled again. This is an economy that is frankly outdated and nonfunctional. Adopting a new, circular economy, creates the potential for a system of recycling that not only works but will make the linear economy redundant.

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, “the circular economy is a systems solution framework that tackles global challenges like climate change, biodiversity, loss, waste, and pollution.” 

To put it simply, a Circular Economy focuses on re-manufacturing3, guaranteeing that materials are recycled into products of equal or similar value. This approach will enable materials to be given a longer life, reproducing new products repeatedly rather than allowing them to be thrown away or devalued. 

Moreover, when we implement a Circular Economy, we will not only saving valuable resources but also saving consumers millions of dollars per year.

Let’s Change The Broken System

Lasso Loop recycling has built a solution that would effectively eliminate the shortcomings of the current system. The Lasso domestic recycling appliance is a closed-loop system that operates in the comfort of your home. This innovative recycling hardware scans, cleans, processes, and stores your seven most impactful household materials, facilitating a truly circular economy.

A visual representation of the Circular Economy in action, by using the Lasso Loop domestic recycling system.
The Circular Economy in action, by using the Lasso Loop domestic recycling system.

Rather than continuing to attempt to recycle in an irreparable system, Lasso Loop ensures that materials accepted by the machine are processed and stored individually by type and color. By recycling this way, we guarantee that materials maintain their purity, providing maximum value as well as environmental benefits when they would otherwise end up as waste.

The Lasso system guarantees that recyclables processed through the appliance are able to return as a product of equal or similar value, eliminating the worry over discarded or wasted materials. 

Wouldn’t you want to know that your recyclable goods are actually being recycled? Well, now you can! A genuinely Circular Economy is right around the corner.

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Sources:
1.
https://www.igi-global.com/dictionary/operationalization-of-circular-economy/75076
2.
"Can I Recycle This" By Jennie Romer
3.
https://ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/topics/circular-economy-introduction/overview

Abigail Holt // 26 August 2022

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