A Circular Economy - What is it? Why is it important to The Recycle Project?
Here at the Recycle Project our aim is to turn ‘waste’ into a positive opportunity. We do this by intercepting 20+ tonnes of waste per month from household waste sites. We also provide clearance services and receive donations from the public. The Recycle Project works in numerous ways to find opportunities for this waste to go back into the community: reuse of quality items at our shop and through sales, repair of items in our workshops and working in partnership with charities and businesses across York in the encouragement of a circular economy. But what is a circular economy?
What is a Circular Economy?
A circular economy is essentially an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and encouraging the continual use of resources. The aim of this economic model is basically to extract as much value as possible from products and materials, before recovering and regenerating them, with the aim of creating minimum waste.
Our current economic model is incredible linear. Raw material are extracted for the production of goods, we use them and then they are disposed of. In a circular economy, the raw materials are still used for the production of goods and resources and are used but rather than being disposed after use, they can be reused/shared with another, repaired, refurbished, repurposed (e.g. upcycled or turned into something new). If that is not possible for those good, a circular economy recycles those goods so that the materials are recycled to reduce the environmental impact that we see from landfill. Resulting in less raw material, less waste and fewer emissions
We believe everyone needs to ‘understand’ and learn about Circular Economy. This is especially important with the impact of the governments net-zero target by 2050. The linear model is inefficient and has been pushing our planet to the brink. The climate crisis and depleting resources will not fix themselves. We believe it is our responsibility to create change. At TRP we hope to lead by example and encourage people to rethink their own carbon footprint.
Research has found that by creating circular economy for 5 key sectors could cut CO2 emissions by 3.7 billion tonnes by 2050. This is equivalent to eliminating current emissions from all forms of transport! Key elements of circular economy are prioritising regenerative resources, preserving and extending what’s already made, using waste as a resource rethinking business model and working together for the future.
The Ellen McArthur Foundation are a charity committed to creating a circular economy. They want to accelerate the transition to this economic model. The video below explains this through the ‘Butterfly Diagram’ for you to further understand what a circular economy is and why it is an important instrument to tack the current climate, biodiversity and pollution crisis. This explains the model in more detail.
The Recycle Project - A Circular Economy
At The Recycle Project, we work alongside Yorwaste, City of York Council and North Yorkshire County Council. We visit household waste sites in the county and intercept the waste. We load up the van with the ‘waste’ and are charged on the weight of the items we save from each site. Then we take the van load of goods back to our warehouse for cleaning, sorting and pricing.
You would not believe the items that are taken to household waste sites. It is unbelievable until you see it and see the items at our shop. We need to treasure and restore items and try to be more resourceful. This is why a circular economy is so important.
We want to encourage people to rethink waste and change social norms surrounding the current linear ‘throw-away’ culture society has seemingly adopted.
Not only do we want to encourage but we want to educate too. The profits made through the sale of the second-hand goods we salvage fund our workshops. These are free to our local community and are focused on learning and upskilling. Our workshops have previously included upcycle, bike maintenance and upholstery. Also, as mentioned, the items we use in the various workshops on offer are often ones that have been saved from the household waste sites during our collections. Another example of how these waste goods can find their way back to good use and the benefits of a circular economy. For more information on our workshops check our workshops page by clicking here.
Let’s work together to reuse, recycle, and rethink waste. Let’s help to improve our environmental, economic and social systems and change the way we work for a better future for everyone.