Circular economy – what does it mean to me?

We have traditionally taken a linear approach to products: we take, make, and discard. When a new phone is released, we simply dispose of the old one. We’re depleting a finite quantity of resources and degrading our planet in the process. We are crossing planetary boundaries, putting our own existence and wellbeing in jeopardy. This model cannot be sustained, read more here. The Circular Economy (CE) is an alternative model, a fundamental change in the way we produce and consume – The Ellen MacArthur Foundation identifies three principles on which the circular economy is based, all driven by design: (1) Eliminate waste and pollution, (2) Circulate products and materials  and (3) Regenerate nature.

For many years, Australians have enthusiastically taken to putting items in our recycling bins, which is a step in the right direction, however there was no guarantee that it had been truly recycled for re-use, read more about this and what you can do here. Producers and consumers are both responsible for shifting to a circular economy business model, find out more in the Australian Circular Economy Hub – Going circular can improve our lives

Circular Australia works with people, businesses, government agencies, not-for-profits, researchers and finance organisations to remove barriers to the circular economy; and Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) is an industry forum for resource recovery, recycling, and remanufacturing, supporting the transition to circular economy in Australia. CSIRO’s Circular Economy Roadmap identifies opportunities across the whole supply chain of how waste can be avoided, and materials can be re-used or recycled. In doing so, it identifies new technologies, products, services, and industries that can emerge from taking on a circular economy approach – swopping the focus on waste management to circular economy. Also find out more in the Australian Government Report National Waste Policy: Less waste, more resources.

Standards Australia recognises the significance of a circular economy to help Australia reach its United Nations Sustainable development goals and future economic prosperity, read more in the Research Report Circular economy and the role of standards.  Consumers’ Federation of Australia supports a representative to the Standards Australia committee EV-022 Circular economy as part of the CFA Standards Project. The committee represents Australia at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) where Australia is participating in the development of standards that cover frameworks and principles, guidelines on business models, and measuring circularity.

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