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The circular economy and women
17 February 2016
The traditional linear economy ‘takes, makes, uses, disposes’. A circular economy thinks in systems about how it can retain resources in use for as long as possible, while extracting the maximum value from them, as well as considering the recovery and regeneration of products and materials at the end of each service life.
In manufacturing an article the majority, something like 90 percent of the raw materials used in making the product, become waste, and we’ve all read the stats on how much food we waste and how many of our clothes sit unused in our wardrobes.
A circular economy decouples economic growth from resource consumption.
There are all sorts of ways to think about a circular economy: there’s the ‘cradle to cradle’ concept, or the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’, and Collaborative Consumption.
Collaborative Consumption has many platforms, including motor vehicle sharing sites; fashion sites for recycling and borrowing clothes and accessories; gumtree; e-bay; airtasker; etc.
Collaborative Consumption leverages the spare time and abilities of others - not to mention the products they have to recycle that we may want.
“Whether redistributing unwanted items to a better home, providing access to, rather than ownership of, expensive or infrequently used goods to maximise their usefulness, or tapping into underutilised skills or space and making them available for the benefit of others, collaborative consumption is emerging in all parts of our lives and leveraging the idling capacity of our possessions and assets,” says Lauren Anderson, a Collaborative Consumption expert.
A couple of new entries in the circular economy space are Sugru – sticky putty – and the online site Buy Me Once. (The latter is only available at present in the UK and the US.)
Sugru is a mouldable silicone technology glue that turns into rubber.
Sugru bonds to almost any other material and cures when exposed to air to form a durable bond. The inventors and developers of the product are crowdfunding their next venture which is to take over the world.
Buy Me Once “finds and promotes products that don't break the bank, don't break the planet… that don't break at all!”
It also wants to “challenge manufacturers to break their habits and build stuff that really lasts…”
Both of these young women, Sugru inventor Jane ni Dhulchaointigh (below) and Buy Me Once founder Tara Button (beneath), know the value of disruptive technologies and the influence a disruptive idea can have on traditional ways of doing things.