Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

These Four Companies Are Embracing the Circular Economy

Business
These Four Companies Are Embracing the Circular Economy
Ikea is among the companies implementing circular economy initiatives. Visual China Group / Getty Images

By Sean Fleming

What goes around comes around, according to the old saying. And in the case of the circular economy, that's certainly true.


The circular economy takes a different approach to the take-make-dispose model of consumption to which many have become accustomed. By reusing and recycling as much as possible, plus repurposing and selling on items that have outlived their initial use, the circular economy is creating jobs and generating economic activity, while easing some pressures on the environment.

It's an approach based on "designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems," in the words of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The idea is gaining momentum and truly hitting the mainstream as a growing number of household-name brands adopt circular methods and develop products with circularity built in.

Organizations around the world are creating new platforms to support circular innovation. For instance, the World Economic Forum's Scale360° Playbook initiative brings together technologists, researchers, entrepreneurs and governments to develop new products and solutions, maximize resources and rethink value chains. Additionally, emerging circular innovators from around the world can connect and work together in sharing ideas and solutions through UpLink, the Forum's open innovation platform.

Regenerate, reuse, recycle. Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Here are four examples of the circular innovation that could be coming to a store near you.

Recycling Incentives: Thousand Fell

Thousand Fell is already making a name for itself as an environmentally conscious manufacturer with shoes made from sustainable materials such as coconut husk and sugar cane, and even recycled plastic bottles,

Now, in partnership with TerraCycle and UPS, the maker has launched a special recycling incentive. Customers can return old pairs of Thousand Fell shoes back to the manufacturer. Thousand Fell will then recycle the returned footwear and send customers $20 that can be used toward a new pair of shoes.

A Big Brand Selling Goods Second-Hand: IKEA

Visitors to the Swedish town of Eskilstuna, about 100km outside of the capital Stockholm, could visit a 1,000-year-old stone covered with Viking runes and pictures. They could also visit IKEA's first-ever second-hand store.

The shop will feature gently used IKEA furniture as part of its efforts to reach its 2030 climate targets.

Head of sustainability at the Scandinavian furniture giant Jonas Carlehed told Reuters earlier this year that: "We are making a huge readjustment, maybe the biggest IKEA has ever made, and one of the keys to reaching [the company's 2030 climate targets] is to manage to help our customers prolong the life of their products."

The company has also recently started a buy-back scheme for customers – it gives vouchers in exchange for the return of unwanted furniture and other items. That scheme has, however, been suspended in some locations because of ongoing pandemic-related restrictions.

Re-usable Fast Food Packaging: Burger King

Takeaway food is big business -- but the packaging for those meals poses a sustainability challenge.

Global takeaway brand Burger King has unveiled a solution in the form of reusable packaging intended to reduce the amount of waste it generates. Customers in New York, Tokyo, and Portland, Oregon will soon be able to buy burgers and drinks in reusable packaging.

The plan, one in place for next year, features a small deposit charged initially and then refunded when the customer returns with the boxes and cups, which are taken away for cleaning and processing via the zero-waste e-commerce system Loop.

Shoes You Don't Own: Adidas

Sportswear multinational Adidas has a range of footwear designed with recycling in mind. Its UltraBoost DNA Loop shoes are made from just one material – thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). No glue is used in its manufacture, instead, it is assembled using high temperatures.

On its website, Adidas describes the UltraBoost Loop as the shoes customers will never own, but will instead return once they are finished with them.

"If the end can become the beginning, we can help keep products in play and waste out of landfill," the company says.

Reposted with permission from World Economic Forum.

Valley of the Gods in the heart of Bears Ears National Monument. Mint Images / Getty Images

By Sharon Buccino

This week, Secretary Haaland chose a visit to Bears Ears National Monument as her first trip as Interior Secretary. She is spending three days in Bluff, Utah, a small town just outside the monument, listening to representatives of the five tribes who first proposed its designation to President Obama in 2015. This is the same town where former Secretary Sally Jewell spent several hours at a public hearing in July 2016 before recommending the monument's designation to President Obama.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Pexels

By Anthony Richardson, Chhaya Chaudhary, David Schoeman, and Mark John Costello

The tropical water at the equator is renowned for having the richest diversity of marine life on Earth, with vibrant coral reefs and large aggregations of tunas, sea turtles, manta rays and whale sharks. The number of marine species naturally tapers off as you head towards the poles.

Read More Show Less
Trending
"Secrets of the Whales" is a new series that will start streaming on Disney+ on Earth Day. Disney+

In celebration of Earth Day, a star-studded cast is giving fans a rare glimpse into the secret lives of some of the planet's most majestic animals: whales. In "Secrets of the Whales," a four-part documentary series by renowned National Geographic Photographer and Explorer Brian Skerry and Executive Producer James Cameron, viewers plunge deep into the lives and worlds of five different whale species.

Read More Show Less
Spring is an excellent time to begin bird watching in earnest. Eugenio Marongiu / Cultura / Getty Images

The coronavirus has isolated many of us in our homes this year. We've been forced to slow down a little, maybe looking out our windows, becoming more in tune with the rhythms of our yards. Perhaps we've begun to notice more, like the birds hopping around in the bushes out back, wondering (maybe for the first time) what they are.

Read More Show Less
The brown pelican is seen on Queen Bess Island in Louisiana in March 2021. Casey Wright / LDWF biologist

Who says you can't go home again?

Read More Show Less