Natural resources are finite, but innovation and reuse are theoretically infinite. That’s the thinking behind the idea of the circular economy, an idea which has taken on new meaning of late. By some estimates, a global effort could yield more than $1 trillion in material savings each year. “Circular economy is the next generation of business,” Frans van Houten, Philips’ CEO, said during the 2014 World Economic Forum. The movement even has its own mantra: “Waste is just another term for an unused resource.”
Companies such as Patagonia are at the forefront of the effort. Through its Common Threads Partnership, Patagonia encourages customers to return worn garments to its stores for reuse or for shredding and recycling into “new” garments.
Governments and major foundations are also putting financial incentives behind the concept. Last year the Ellen MacArthur Foundation created The Circular Economy 100, an organization that unites brands as diverse as Coca-Cola, IKEA, and Vodaphone to hasten the transition to a circular economy.
Read more about Stadium Auto Parts and their approach to vehicle recycling.