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Can Circularity Save the World?
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Can Circularity Save the World?

For all the incredible things we’ve developed collectively as mankind, for all the improvements, amazing inventions, and smart solutions that go way beyond our wildest expectations, the issue of the gradual deterioration of our planet remains one problem we’re struggling to tackle effectively.

There are many opinions regarding climate change; some believe the data is alarming and the time to act is now or soon it’s going to be too late, and there are those who seem to think these warnings are rather exaggerated. But one thing is certainly true – the world is changing, and the climate is changing with it.

If we take a look at the average Earth temperature alone, the data suggests that it’s 1.36 degrees Celsius higher since we first started measuring it back in the 1850s according to the latest NOAA report.


While this may not sound like a lot, it does bring about a whole array of big and detrimental - and the worst of all - irreversible changes.

The latest example was the 4th bleaching event, which affected coral reefs - they turn white and often die as a result. That can have some dire consequences, the worst of all is destroying the habitat of about 25% of marine life.

And what year was the worst die off for coral reefs? That happened in 2016 and it was caused by a weather phenomenon known as El Niño-Sothern Oscillation (ENSO) that lasted from 2014 to 2017, the result of which is an abnormally high sea temperature. That was enough to damage over 70% of coral reefs.

A little-known fact is that although these shallow coastal seas and areas, which incidentally is also where most coral reefs are located, make up only 10% of all the oceans, they’re home to over 90% of all the marine species.

Why is the Climate Changing?

It’s very hard, or likely impossible, to pin all the blame on one specific thing, business, or industry. That’s why we have to look at the bigger picture. In this case, the whole system.

Everything is interconnected, that’s why the thing that’s most crooked and backwards is, perhaps, the whole economic model

Landscape Photography of Factory

Mass production, ever-growing consumerism, all the cheap and single-use or almost single-use products flooding the market, supply chains, delivery, shipping – they’re all part of the problem. But the problem is the system.

Currently, everything relies on the heavy exploitation of natural resources, which will eventually run out.

While it does facilitate growth and progress, this insistence on continuing to go down that road is a form of short-sightedness and cannot be sustained for too long.

Circularity – The New Way

Most of us have heard that word at least one time, but what does it mean exactly? Let’s take a look at an official definition.

Circularity is a kind of “regenerative system in which resource input and waste, emission, and energy leakage are minimised by slowing, closing, and narrowing material and energy loops.”

So, in the context of economics, it’s a very specific approach towards production, where every item, service or resource is reused or repurposed to keep the waste at an absolute minimum.

Mobile phone with green recycling sign and mesh bag

The pinnacle of this regenerative concept of economy is a completely closed-loop system. As you can imagine, it’s almost impossible to get to that purest, idealistic level at the moment.

The product lifespan looks like a circle, not a straight line, hence the term circularity - as opposed to a linear system, with that make–take–dump model.

Now, how does that stack up against the concept we’ve been talking about in our blog section countless times – sustainability? The first thing we have to understand is that these two are completely different, independent ideas.

Sustainability means “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” At least according to the United Nations Brundtland Commission.

So, let’s put it all together and try to make sense out of both. Sustainability is a goal, while circularity is a means to achieve it – not necessarily through environmental protection or the well-being of our planet at heart.

Efficiency may be far more important, so on the ideological level, some argue it’s actually quite selfish. But we’re not here to wage in or settle any debates.

If it’s better for the environment and makes our system more efficient, why even bother splitting hairs? Circularity might be the way towards sustainability. This is where many ideas, like the 3Rs, stem from. That’s how innovative products like a stone bath mat, modular furniture or reusable water bottles were developed.

But there’s much more.

Regenerative Design

An idea created around the time the term circularity itself was first coined – back in the 1970s. But what is regenerative design?

Close-up of an Elegant Woman Sitting on a Sofa Pointing at an Illustration in a Book

It’s a concept of designing solutions, according to which all processes within all systems should reuse their own materials and energy, creating a self-sustaining ecosystem that mimics the natural ecosystems.

Green Economy

UNEP (United Nations Environmental Platform) defines it as a type of economy geared towards increasing overall social well-being and equality while at the same time reducing environmental toll, harm and exploitation of natural resources.

An absorbent bath mat or bamboo towels embody that very idea.

Cradle-to-Cradle Model

The idea of cradle-to-cradle is quite simple - and the hint is right there in the name. It's about examining the entire life cycle of the product as well as the raw materials used to make it - from cradle to cradle.

Materials are considered resources for biological or technological reuse in commercial as well as industrial processes.


Biomimicry is the idea of finding solutions to human problems in nature. That means studying the models, patterns, systems, processes and different elements of the natural world and trying to use them to develop new designs, strategies and technologies.

By mimicking nature, we're striving to create more efficient, and sustainable solutions.

Performance Economy

It's an economic model that focuses mainly on the performance and functionality of both services and goods. it's actually more important than ownership. The idea is to move away from overconsumption towards more sustainable and efficient economic practices.

Man Holding Remote Control

A good example of that would be car-sharing services or some pay-per-view models.

Perfect Cycle

Although different, circularity is something that can lead the world towards sustainability – one step at a time. It opens up new pathways to more innovative, efficient and responsible solutions and practices, even though it’s not all about the environment.

There’s a valuable lesson here – we shouldn’t sacrifice everything for the sake of sustainability but rather learn to recognise and appreciate the importance of protecting the planet – just like this philosophy of the Circular Economy. Our future depends on it, which means we have a common goal here.

Same goes for the products. Ideally, they should be both green and functional – like a quick dry bath mat, for instance. Performance is just as important as being eco-friendly. If they don’t work well, the whole purpose is completely defeated and lost.

Time will tell if circularity can, in fact, save the planet. One thing is certain – it can definitely help it. And with the constant development and innovations, who knows, maybe it does hold the key to a bright and sustainable future…?

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