Circular Economies and You
If you're not sure what Circular Economy means, please check out our previous blog (this post will lake a lot more sense after reading it)! Hopping right in...
What can be done in the day to day?
You don’t have to be a business to be circular; if you've read into the reasoning of Zero Waste living, you're already familiar with applying the principles of a Circular Economy to your life. The best way to get started is to perform a trash audit; over the course of a week or month, keep track of everything that you’re throwing out, including what you're recycling! Is it mostly food waste? Lots of paper? Take out containers?
Next, find a way that you can either re-use, upcycle, compost, or consciously toss those items.
If you’re throwing away a lot of food at the end of the week, there’s many easy fixes – you could make your produce and leftovers last longer with a Khala Cloth™ (5-7 days longer than plastic wrap, in fact), or you can find composting services in your area, or tighten up the groceries you buy so you’re not purchasing things you know you won’t end up eating. Get creative, and get altruistic! How can you make this waste helpful? Is there someone who could eat this, and how could you get it to them?
If you’re using a lot of single use plastics, like drink bottles or take out containers, one solution is to recycle. But, even if those plastic bits are easily out of sight out of mind, it doesn’t change the fact that they are single use, and their production costs the world water, energy, fossil fuel, and greenhouse gas emissions. Their convenience has a cost, and if you’re recycling lots of this plastic every week, the benefits of recycling will not outweigh the cost of using it in the first place. Again, the question is how can you re-use these plastic items? Is there a way to upcycle them so they have a new, helpful purpose? If not, and there is not a sustained need for this type of waste at the end of the week, then how can you get away from buying it?
Breaking free from single use plastics can appear tricky, but get creative with the resources you have around you! Do you have a jar of olives in the fridge? When its empty, peel off the label and wash it. It’s your new iced coffee cup. Have a few wine bottles? How about storage for small dry goods, like lentils, beans, or oats? Collecting any glass food containers you have and using them as tupperware and drink containers can get you into a system of plastic free re-use easily, and is a better option than going to the store and buying a pallet of mason jars especially for the task.
Finally, consider the products you’re buying. Has the company you’re purchasing from thought through what will happen to the packaging, or the product, once it is no longer needed? Is there more than one use for the item in question after it has done the task that it was initially required to do?
When Khala Cloths™ are no longer capable of being used to store food, they can be used as a fire starter while camping, as compost for your garden, as ties for your grocery bags, as storage baggies for your non-waterproof bits and bobs on a hike, etc. Even when your Khala Cloth™ is no longer up to its primary purpose anymore, there are still many ways to use it. And our packaging is made from post-consumer recycled material (which is recyclable in turn, and we offer package free options as well).
What can be done on a larger scale?
Support what you want to see by voting with your dollar, and be vocal about what you'd like to see more of! Is there a business you absolutely love, and want to continue to support, but they're not making things in a sustainable, circular way? Let them know you'd love them even more if they took steps to handle their waste a little more consciously.
Once you do that, take it up a notch! Ask your representatives, your senators, since we're investing in American manufacturing, what are you doing to ensure that manufacturing is set up in a way that encourages circularity? What are you doing to make sure that production can be done in a way that won't harm the planet? Connect them with resources if you can - examples of businesses, economic theories, environmental impacts, whatever you can get your hands on to educate them and show them that modeling businesses with the Circular Economy in mind is possible, and is successful.