A circular economy is not exactly what you might think it is. It has little to do with making a product, sending the product overseas, and importing a different product in exchange for the product you export. Instead, it has everything to do with a linear model of reduce, reusue, recycle and how products are made, used, and recycled. Circular economy examples can help better define this economic process for you with easy-to-understand references.
The Paper Model
Trees are harvested to make paper. Paper mills make all kinds of paper products, which consumers use. With the exception of toilet paper, most paper products can be recycled. When people recycle paper products rather than throwing them into the trash, the paper mills that participate in recycling are able to take these products, break them down into pulp, and create more paper products using post-consumer recycled paper. Look on paper product labels to see "Made of post-consumer recycled paper, 'x' %". This tells you how much post-consumer recycled paper was used to make this new product. This is a complete circular economy.
The Plastics Model
Plastic exists in practically everything consumers buy. Plastic acts as a container for everything from food to laundry detergent. The plastics company takes chemicals and creates the plastics. The chemicals are a mix of gasoline-based and lab-produced agents. When combined in just the right way and cooked, the chemicals produce plastic. The plastic is then molded, shaped, or extruded into the desired form. These forms are used in products people consume. When people are done with the products, they recycle the plastic. The plastic is sent to a recycling plant that washes out containers and then sorts them into specific plastics piles. The plastics are then melted down and sold to plastic products companies, who use these plastics to make new items and reduce their impact on the environment.
The Petroleum Model
Gasoline is not the only product humans get from drilling for oil. In fact, dozens of products are made from the three main products brought up out of oil wells. Consumers get oil, gasoline, and natural gas. From these natural resources, people get kerosene, plastics, heating oil, petroleum jelly and ointments, and lots more. While most fuel and liquids are burned when consumed, the rest of the products can be recycled. When recycled, companies do not have to look for, drill for, or draw up any more of the finite sources in the earth.Share
30 November 2019
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