Isn’t recycling part of the circular economy?

There are 2 answers to this question. The short answer is no. 🙂

The below image from Zero Waste Scotland can help illustrate the longer answer.

A linear economy is when a product goes straight to the garbage. For example, a plastic toy that breaks within minutes or a month. It can’t be repaired or safely used.

Recycling begins at the end of a product’s lifecycle – “end-of-pipe” or “downstream”. We’re finished with the plastic milk jug and it goes into the recycling bin. The circular economy begins at the product development. The birth of that plastic milk jug – “upstream”.

“In a properly built circular economy, one should rather focus on avoiding the recycling stage at all costs. It may sound straightforward, but preventing waste from being created in the first place is the only realistic strategy.” (World Economic Forum)

Many companies are looking to design out waste from their products. This cuts costs for them and they help the environment. It also gives them a social responsibility initiative and that leads to other benefits as well. Imagine working for a company that was being socially, environmentally, and economically responsible. Anyone would be proud to work there.

Here at Prairie Circular Economy, we can help you become a leader in your community. Contact us for a free discovery call and we can work together.