We’ve said goodbye to 2020 and welcomed 2021 with renewed vigour and optimism. The global disruption that we faced last year has left its mark on every aspect of humanity- health, economy, aviation, travel and most importantly, it left its mark on our planet- but not necessarily for the worse. The effects of travel on our planet has never been so low, both on the ground and in the air, and in 2020 we saw carbon emissions drastically decline by 18.7million tons a day compared to 2019.
As the world begins to slowly return to its routine of normality, we must look ahead to 2021 and consider how we can continue to be kind to our environment.
One such method that would benefit both the economy and the environment would be to adopt the concept of circular economy.
What is Circular Economy?
At Dulsco, our vision is to create and maintain a circular economy, a method that strives for the continual use of resources, contrasting a traditional linear economy with a “make, use, dispose” agenda. With circular economy, the aim is to extract the maximum value from any material, before recovering and regenerating products and materials at the end of their service life.
What has Dulsco done in the past to facilitate Circular Economy?
In line with the principles of sustainability and circular economy, Dulsco had made it its mission to facilitate the reuse and recycling of waste management, in order to give back to the environment and the economy.
Dulscois about to launch the state of the art MRF (Material Recovery Facility) and the Oil Re-refinery Plant, the first private marine slop and sludge treatment plant in the United Arab Emirates that produces fuel oil, blended fuel products and irrigation quality water. This year will also see a new product line of upcycled furniture made of recycled oil barrels and wooden pallets a living example of circular economy.
Additionally, we have seen the establishment of Construction and Demolition (C & D), an initiative implemented in Ajman and UAQ where crushed concrete is recycled into a sub-base, which is used in the construction of roads and other development projects.
And finally, we come to the Paper Pulp Molding Facility and the Glass Upcycling Workshops, where the mission is to reduce the wastage of paper and glass by utilizing and recycling them to create new and innovative upcycled products.
Circular Economy In Our Daily Lives: What Can We Do To Contribute?
Here’s how you can practice and contribute to a circular economy, starting by uncluttering your life.
Organise your wardrobe
Donate old clothes to charity shops or clothes donation banks. Fashion nowadays is more about sustainable, statement pieces styled in multiple ways, rather than cheaper produced clothing that contribute to the fast fashion industry.
Avoid plastic cutlery and utensils, and when ordering take-out food, make sure to opt for the ‘no cutlery’ option and use your own.
Reusable fruit and vegetable bags are readily available nowadays, so you can avoid hefty packaging as much as possible when doing your weekly food shops.
Do not hesitate to reuse and repurpose your waste. Upcycling is not only functional, but also an extremely creative way of adding some life to old materials! Those old glass jars could be used for new plant holders, for example.
Reduce your carbon footprint
Consider if you really need to jump in the car to go to the shops, or could you easily cycle or walk there? Every little helps.
Organize your workspace
Go paperless, use multifunctional devices (scanner, printer, and fax machine), and get some plants!
But what happens when Covid-19 is taken into the picture?
What would circular economy look like in a post-pandemic era?
Circular Economy in a Post- COVID-19 World.
How will the future look?
Paying for service
Consumer behaviour has seen dramatic change during the pandemic.Hoarding, panic buying and even hi-jacking at a government level. What one person considers essential and how they plan to face a crisis can be very different to somebody else. People may take a “collector” approach with a focus on owning goods, or a “collective-sharer” approach focused on sharing the service of goods.
Establishing a “pay for service model” would be highly advantageous when it comes to adopting a circular economy attitude in post-pandemic world, particularly the subscription method, which has been and is in use by many international companies. Rather than paying a fixed cost for the goods individually, a customer can pay for a service as a whole, especially when it comes to essential items. Therefore, multiple people can have an equal amount of high-quality goods delivered for an overall cost that will benefit the economy at large.
Faced with a drop in income, consumers will be less burdened with paying fixed costs, to own and operate a washing machine, for example. Having the option to pay for a service rather thanbuying a new product, provides alternatives to manage consumption, either by reducing expenditure, or opting for the basic alternative Thus we can see a significant reduction of wastage in energy and raw materials, while providing a quality service to the customer, that simultaneously benefits the producer..
Self-containment and local consumption
Maintaining food security and continuous operation of supply lines is crucial for any economy during a crisis. Those countries that rely on imports have continued to find it challenging. Supply chain disruption curtailed the movement of goods to their destination markets causing shortages, and the pandemic is expected to send 265 million people in 2021 to hunger.
It is hard to envisage a future operating under long-term restrictions without encouraging local alternative supplies and opening up local markets. This is what a circular economy encourages – local supply chains to allow localized circulation of nutrient flows. When countries ease lockdown, many are likely to attempt to operate with restricted activity across borders for some time, further encouraging economic activities to be more or less self-contained.
Short supply chains and decreased dependency beyond borders
De-globalization is a clear trend we see post COVID-19. World trade is expected to contract between 13% and 32% in 2021, which not only indicates finished goods but also materials and components used in industrial production. The reliance on international supply chains may start to be seen as higher risk than sourcing products and components locally. As borders become barriers for the free flow of material, the bird in the hand could be worth more than two in the bush. Achieving security in the supply of components for production will not be easy to achieve without anticipating inventory build-up or shortages, so local production chains may be considered more favourably than before. The repair economy and local micro industries may also be valued for providing a reliable supply of products within reach, compared to a long supply chain delivering a cheaper productThus implementing this practice into circular economy, would make efficient and regulated use of local resources thus preventing any unnecessary cost and wastage of resources obtained internationally. Though it may take a long period to completely implement, the self-sufficiency that comes with it would benefit a country’s economy much more in the long run.
Capping consumption, based on capacity limitations and priority
Our needs for survival, community and engagement and even entertainment were previously all bundled into a single lifestyle package. If we have limited availability of resources, we need to make it easier to prioritize those needs. We can expect consumption to be grouped and classified, to allow governments to respond quickly to crises in a post-pandemic world. COVID-19 is likely to prepare governments to have a hierarchy of activities it deems crucial for survival, continuity and anything above. Thus, this practice, when applied to the principles and practices of circular economy would establish a regulation of available resources that would inherently prevent wastage, and make up an efficient and equal distribution of goods and services according to the need, demand and top priority.
(Opportunities for a circular economy post COVID-19 | World Economic Forum (weforum.org)