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Consumers and Businesses: Circular Economy Simplified

Updated: Aug 23, 2020

Author: Kyra Chisholm

Do you ever wonder if your individual actions are enough? Do you wonder if individual actions are really worth the extra effort and if they are truly making a difference? They are… keep going! Any action, no matter how small is important. The number one thing you can do as an individual is talk about climate change/ environmental issues and share it with people you know! Encourage meatless Monday’s, shopping zero waste, driving less, etc. If you are taking time to share your experiences with people who trust you will make a difference in our collective actions.

There is also a really important way that you can act individually and make a big impact. Use your wallet. How we spend our money as consumers has a really big impact on big business decisions, because after all, businesses can’t survive without demand. It takes a little extra time to research and do your homework, but it really makes a big difference! Be conscious of greenwashing and don’t be afraid to ask questions directly to the companies before you spend money. (Ps. Buying less is another way to use your wallet!).

My research focuses on the circular economy because I think it is an important step in transforming production processes and the way we interact with products. At a high level the circular economy transitions away from a take-make-waste system towards one of regeneration through reducing, reusing, refurbishing and finally recycling.

The principles of the circular economy are:

1.            Design out waste & pollution

2.            Keep products & materials in use

3.            Regenerate natural systems

(Ellen MacArthur Foundation)

The circular economy is really fascinating to me because it is both a producer and consumer approach. Supporting circular businesses allows them to continue their performance improvement and integrate sustainability at the heart of their businesses. Circularity is not an incremental approach to sustainability; it requires these businesses to produce or provide a service in an entirely new and innovative way. However, consumers are equally important. We have to participate in sharing programs, purchase products that are refurbished or recycled, participate in return programs, etc. We need early adopters to encourage the masses!

If you want to learn more about the circular economy, I would highly suggest looking at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation website ( They are arguably, the leading organization on supporting transitions towards the circular economy. On their website they have great, reliable information, case studies, educational materials and lots more!

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