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The circular economy and how it can benefit your business

The circular economy is defined as a way of designing, making, and creating value that benefits the business, society, and the environment. It is based on three principles:

Design out waste and pollution – Economic activity can cause damage to human health and natural systems, including the release of hazardous substances like greenhouse gases and air and land pollution – but what if waste and pollution were not created in the first place?

Keeping products and materials in use – Making sure that businesses design their products for durability, reuse and recycling.

Regenerating natural systems – Businesses should try to avoid using non-renewable resources eg renewable energy rather than fossil fuels.

What are the benefits of a circular economy for your business?

  1. Economic growth – it increases efficiency and creates added value when materials are used several times, instead of just once. And this in turn….
  2. Reduces material costs
  3. Innovation – improved materials, higher rates of technological development, and energy efficiency all offer more profit opportunities.

Tips for your business

  1. Offer a repair service
  2. Adopt a return and renew service – This can reduce the amount of damaged goods being thrown away. Instead, these products can be taken apart and regenerated.
  3. Leasing – Businesses can lease items from other companies or lease their own products out to customers to increase a product’s lifetime.
  4. Second hand market – Products and materials can be used and re-purposed multiple times and redistributed to new users via platforms such as Facebook Marketplace, Ebay and Gumtree.
  5. Food based businesses can aim to design out waste – consider locally sourced food and reducing food waste and sustainable packaging.

How to get started

If you are interested in implementing a circular business model, there are some great resources available on the OxfordshireGreentech Circular Economy Special Interest Group page.

Oxfordshire Greentech is a business network supporting the growth of the low-carbon sector in Oxfordshire. Businesses based in South and Vale can take advantage of 10 per cent off the basic member rate when they sign up. Visit the Oxfordshire Greentech website for full details.

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