Rethinking Shared Economy Products
The development of the circular economy is opening new business opportunities. Rather than destroying products in landfills, companies can share, sell, or lease them. This reduces their environmental impact and encourages multiple owners. Companies can also offer products-as-a-service, including maintenance and repair, upgrades, and access to functions. As a result, the lifecycle of products is longer, creating opportunities for repair and maintenance businesses. But if you're a company already committed to the circular economy, you might want to reconsider these new business models.
If we look at the circular economy from the perspective of the product, its lifespan is extended long before it reaches the hands of consumers. In the linear economy, the life cycle of a product begins with the gathering of raw materials, most often virgin ones, and then continues with its production into a product through tools, machinery, and human labor. The product is then manufactured using physical and chemical processes to create a finished product, and eventually ends up in landfills.
A number of companies are now creating products to help businesses embrace the circular economy. RePack, for example, provides returnable packaging that is returned by mail to companies that participate in the program. RePack can be used 40 times and has been shown to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80%. Companies are constantly developing and expanding the list of circular economy products to offer consumers more choices. Circular economy products are those designed to keep materials out of the landfill and in use while regenerating the environment.
In the circular economy, high-value products are the easiest to access, process, and reuse. This type of product requires no major changes to a business model. Companies can also avoid the costs of facilitating material recovery by creating products that are easy to use and maintain. By creating products with such qualities, companies can make the transition to a circular economy product that benefits consumers, the environment, and the economy. These high-value products are the future of our society.
The DSM-Niaga approach to design unlocks circular design in everyday furnishings, using non-toxic materials that are easy to disassemble and reuse. These products help address diverse pollution and resource risks, including water scarcity. EcoVolt, for example, is a bioelectric wastewater treatment system that converts wastewater into renewable energy. This system reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Lastly, DSM-Niaga's approach to circular design can help manufacturers develop more durable, sustainable products that benefit consumers.
The circular economy is one of the most important aspects of sustainability, and sharing can promote collective consumption behaviour shifts. Shared economy products have a positive impact on the environment, while also reducing waste and energy consumption. However, to achieve the best impact, sharing must be combined with good governance models, stakeholder collaboration, and behavior incentives. Life cycle analysis provides an opportunity to understand the impacts of sharing and the benefits it can bring.
The concept of sharing is not new and has been practiced for a long time in business-to-business sectors, such as agriculture. However, it has only recently started to penetrate the consumer market. Shared economy models enable consumers to rent large-ticket items, such as high-end game consoles, power tools, or even a chocolate fountain, without having to invest in storage and repair. It is now possible for everyone to participate in sharing economy models.
The principles of the circular economy also apply to businesses. Rather than buying and selling products and services, companies must focus on increasing their efficiency and reducing dependence on virgin resources. By reusing and sharing resources, organizations can reduce their carbon footprint and attract green investors. Furthermore, sharing products are a great way to reduce waste and increase the value of resources. For example, consumers can also contribute by buying products that they do not need, like a bicycle or a pair of jeans.
As the sharing economy is a new economic model, resources in the sharing economy must be designed to be compatible with the circular economy. In addition to the design and construction of products for the circular economy, businesses must consider the reuse of their products. Moreover, sharing economy products must be easy to repair or upgrade, as well as disassemble and reuse. This makes them more sustainable and promotes community engagement. The circular economy is a valuable part of the overall economy, and it has potential to help the world avoid a linear economic system.
Cradle to cradle design
The Cradle to Cradle principle is an approach to product design and production that mimics nature's cycle and returns all components of a product back to the earth. This method is based on biodegradable materials and closed technical cycles in which wastes are continually cycled to create valuable nutrients for industry. It focuses on improving the quality of life for everyone involved, including the environment.
A product can be certified as "Cradle to Cradle" if it meets specific requirements during production. The certification system has various levels and requires that a product use at least 50% renewable energy and ensures that materials are recyclable. In addition, it must meet strict requirements for fair labor practices and ensure that the materials are not toxic to humans or the environment. The Cradle to Cradle process is based on a phrase referring to the "cradle to grave" cycle.
Many products today are not designed for future cycling. This is because they are made of both biological and technical materials. Even simple items can include mixed materials. For example, plastics and cotton are not biodegradable, while polyester is not. In the technical cycle, these materials are recyclable. When these products are designed correctly, they will safely return to the earth as biological and technical nutrients. Ultimately, we want to create products that are beneficial for both the environment and society.
Many companies have begun incorporating this concept into their products. Companies and nonprofit organizations have implemented the Cradle to Cradle concept around the globe. The principles of this approach are a part of the McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry methodology. Some companies have even licensed their products as "Cradle to Cradle Certified."
In a circular economy, manufacturers break down discarded products into basic components that can be used to make new ones. Biodegradable materials, such as wood, are a perfect example. Wood is naturally biodegradable, so they can be used in wooden furniture and other products. Biodegradable paints and glues can be designed to be compostable after they've been used, increasing the chances that food scraps will be returned to the soil.
While biodegradable plastics are highly desirable, they are not a viable solution to all of the problems associated with conventional plastics. Biodegradable plastics may be a suitable alternative to many products, but only if they are used in the right applications and with appropriate framework conditions, such as regulated waste systems. In addition, they should be marketed responsibly. Ultimately, manufacturers should consider the environment when developing new products, and the future of the planet by considering the impact of their decisions.
Biodegradable materials can be made from renewable sources. Renewable resources like corn or sugar beets can be converted into biodegradable polymers. Such products may be recycled along with conventional materials, such as plastic. They can be used in clothing, packaging, and other products. As an alternative to conventional plastics, biobased plastics may be an excellent choice for household goods, such as food packaging.
A new international standard for biodegradable plastics has been developed. The European Commission's Scientific Advice Mechanism relies on the European Academies to provide independent, scientific advice to the Commission on biodegradable plastics. The group's report outlines a path forward to biodegradable plastics that will benefit the circular economy. The report includes a summary of the findings from this research. It will be useful for manufacturers and consumers alike.
The fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters of our planet, producing nearly two billion tons of greenhouse gases per year, which is more than the combined GDP of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. There is growing pressure on the fashion industry to reduce its carbon footprint, and the Circular Economy principles are getting a lot of attention. However, the question of what it means for the fashion industry is far more complex. What exactly is a circular economy?
The circular economy has many benefits for the fashion industry. For starters, it encourages the production of goods that last longer and retain their value. Second hand clothing will outpace fast fashion sales in 2021. In the future, this gap is expected to widen, as more consumers access second-hand options. While the trend will reduce the need for virgin clothing, the circular economy also presents an opportunity for traditional fast fashion brands.
The Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College of Fashion (LCF) contributes to the field of Sustainable Design through its research and education. CSF engages in transformational design practices. The Centre for Sustainable Fashion uses a pluralistic systemic approach and collaborates with a network of global organisations. The Sustainable Fashion Glossary aims to bring the diverse perspectives of different stakeholders to the table. Further, the Sustainable Fashion Glossary offers a guide to a new world of sustainable fashion.
While the garment industry has made progress with the "Rs" of the circular economy, it has much to do. As the fashion industry continues to grow, it must set circular strategies and tackle challenges like scalability. And it must take steps to increase its competitiveness. Sustainable fashion requires new business models to be more sustainable. They must consider social, financial, and environmental impacts. The benefits of this new paradigm will be far reaching.
Related PostsA Circular Economy Book Review
Challenges and Opportunities for the Circular Economy Packaging Industry
How the Circular Economy Action Plan Will Affect the Automotive Industry
New Approaches to Circular Economy Waste Management