An Introduction to the Circular Economy
Dale Milliken (Co-founder, ResearchConnections) |

What is the Circular Economy? Briefly, the Circular Economy is a vision of a world where both the making and using of products wastes nothing.

It aims to unite businesses to re-think how they operate and covers a wide variety of different factors: from how products are made, to how they are used and disposed of by consumers. All whilst taking into consideration moving away from fossil fuels (such as coal and gas) to using more renewable energy (like solar, wind and water).


The circular economy is important as it closes the loop of product lifecycles through greater recycling and increased re-use, whilst benefiting both the environment by reducing waste and providing economic growth.


Countries like the UK are working towards a circular economy, with those businesses who are supporting the idea seeing profits ahead of those who aren’t implementing the change. As an organisation’s attitude towards sustainability and recycling is now shown to have a positive impact on consumers’ purchasing behaviours.
With this in mind, Eastern European countries like Romania would benefit and should take the necessary steps needed to become a successful circular economy themselves by changing their behaviours on how they re-use and recycle products.  As of 2014, the UK’s recycling rates were shown to be flat lining where they sat at 44.9%. If a circular economy could be successfully implemented in Romania, could it do much better than Britain?

By changing their behaviours on how they re-use and recycle products, Romanian households can play an important role in the creation of a circular economy.
Via educational initiatives, they can be taught how to Recycle, Reuse and Repair. Furthermore, by educating children (who are the next generation of adults) in these 3 of the 5 R’s, it will prove to be an effective factor in shaping the future success of this model.

By working closely with local communities, the A Future Without RubbishTM  initiative has started in schools to regularly educate Romanian children in how they can make a real difference. Helping them to understand and most importantly providing them with the knowledge, they need to learn about the environment. By both inspiring and teaching them about how they can repair their rubbish-filled neighbourhoods and clean up their local areas.

Spending time with Romanian teachers and schools, the initiative develops the skills they need to help build a circular economy of their own. It is crucial to empower children from a young age with the skills they need to re-think and shape the future.
The key to helping children learn is to first help them understand, but sometimes a simple analogy helps even the greatest of minds digest something that little bit easier. For those of us who want to inspire our children – recycling can be simplified and be compared to that of a Honey Bee.
Honey Bees spend their lives collecting pollen (the recyclable material). They fly the pollen back to the beehive (the recycling centre) where they convert the pollen into honey (the recycled products), which can then be used again.

If everyone works together, a circular economy in Romania can be a success. The government knows what must be done to implement change, but communities must be educated and children taught how to make the difference.
If we can break bad habits now, Romania will have a cleaner, more sustainable future.
 

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