The circular economy model can create benefits to the environment, society and the economy.
Environment & Planet
– Fight climate change: At every stage of our products’ life, we use energy and resources, creating greenhouse gases that cause climate change. When products end up in landfill or in an incinerator, they also release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. With a circular economy, we can cut these emissions and act against climate change. For some industries, like steel or concrete, a circular system could reduce their emissions by up to 50%.
– Save resources: By keeping our products and materials in use, we minimise the use of new, scarce resources. Reusing, repairing and recycling our products means we do not need to create products from new resources.
– Reduce waste: Waste can cause serious harm to the environment and humans if not managed responsibly. In a circular economy, we aim for a world without waste by ensuring that materials are kept in circulation.
– Create jobs: The European Environmental Bureau suggests that expanding the reuse, repair and recycling sectors alone can create over 200,000 new jobs in the EU. These jobs are created locally and can provide employment for disadvantaged communities. Already now, re-use and recycling social enterprises often provide important training and support.
– Save money: Through maintaining and repairing goods, households save money. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates overall money savings of several thousand euros per household in a circular economy every year.
– Make business resilient: Businesses are less dependent on imports because scarce resources are reused and recycled rather than wasted. They are also not as heavily impacted by price fluctuations, supply issues or resource scarcity.
– Rethink business models: The circular economy promotes new business models that keep our products and materials in use. Examples include renting and sharing, or paying per laundry wash rather than buying a washing machine.
– Promote innovation: Turning our economy circular requires innovation and great ideas. Funding calls in Ireland and the EU support new ideas for a circular economy. One example are the EPA’s Green Enterprise funding calls.
To find out more about the Circular Economy and the Rediscovery Centre’s work as the National Centre for the Circular Economy: