What is a Circular Economy?

What is a Circular Economy?

In the US, we predominantly operate within a linear economy of goods. Simply put this means resources are taken from the environment, made into goods, consumed, then become waste when we are finished using them. This take→make→waste economy puts stress on our natural resources, transportation systems, and local infrastructure. But it hasn’t always been this way. 

Before the Industrial Revolution most goods were built to be reused over and over again. Stuff was harder to get. Manufactured goods took longer to produce, were move expensive, and took longer to get to you. It simply made sense to build things to last and use them in multiple ways as their useful life shifted. 

After WWII, our ability to produce goods expanded and became more efficient. Across the US companies across began shifting the narrative. They used aggressive marketing campaigns to introduce disposable goods to the American public. Their campaigns told consumers new was better than old. In reality ‘new’ made those companies lots of money. 

Under our current linear economy only about a tenth of the nearly 93 billion tonnes of materials utilized annually - including minerals, metals, fossil fuels and biomass - are currently put back into service. With climate change looming and finite natural resources dwindling, the time has come to look to our past and renormalize circular economies. According to the UNFCC shifting to a circular economy is often highlighted as one of the most powerful system changes humans can make to move closer to reaching the Paris Agreement goals of limiting temperature rise due to climate change. 

The circular economy is regenerative by design. A circular economy prioritizes reuse before looking to solutions like recycling or responsible disposal. Unlike a linear economy where obsolescence is built into goods the circular economy creates products with long lifespans and many uses. The circular economy is an economy of shared goods and services increasing the number of times a product is used; Think of AirBnB, Lyft, or Ebay. The earth’s resources are finite, the circular economy reduces the amount of raw materials used. The extraction and processing of natural resources causes half of global emissions and over 90% of biodiversity loss. Shifting to a circular economy would help lessen both of these impacts.  

Avant’s reusables system creates a community wide network that replaces a linear economic model with a circular economy. We do this by providing households with Avant Reusable Bins to be used like a recycling bin. Whenever you use Avant packaging around town simply put it in your bin & an Avant Team member will come pick it up weekly, wash the packaging, and return it to businesses to be used again. You can find our packaging at coffee shops and restaurants around town as well as our online store for grocery staples. 

The most effective way to reduce solid waste is to reduce the amount produced. By sharing our packaging on a community level we decrease the need for single use packaging & eliminate the need for individuals to remember to bring their own reusable option everywhere they go. With each person in the US producing 4 lbs of trash a day the savings add up fast. Join us in the switch from a linear economy to a circular economy & sign up for your membership today. 

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