Ellen MacArthur: We need to switch to the circular economy

Recycle, Reuse, circular economy, raw materials, sustainable infra, electronics, cradle to cradle, green city, remanufacturing

To reuse or recycle a material, we need to know where materials are located.

During her world tour sailing Ellen became aware how important good material management was.

At sea, good materials are the difference between life and death.

Ellen started to think about the use of raw materials in our world economy. 

Her circular economy based on the principles of cradle-to-cradlewas born.



Mac Arthur:
“Our current economic model is linear: we collect a raw material from ground, use it to make something and finally we throw it away. In a circular economy we need to develop products which can be disassembled and reused.”

Ink Toxins

An example of rethinking is the paper industry. A lot of paper is recycled. But paper is printed with a variety of types of ink, which remains on that paper. Because of the ink toxins, a the cornflakes industry can not use recycled cardboard for its packaging.
We need to prevent, the toxins get into the paper. Than the value of recycled paper will increase, and we keep the paper at the highest level.

Product Tracking System

To reuse or recycle a material, we need to know where materials are located. Imagine that your smartphone is equipped with a barcode. Because of that code, we know exactly:

  • which components have been used
  • the production dates of the various components
  • and what materials they contain

That is a leap forward in the reuse or recycling of materials.

Aircraft Engines

A few companies have been adjusting their strategy, according the process of circular economy. And they are successful!

Rolls-Royce allows airlines to pay for the use of their aircraft engines. Not to own them. Rolls-Royce will add an amount for the number of operating hours of the motor. At the end of the live-cycle, Rolls-Royce recollects the engines, engines are remanufactured and some parts are recycled.

They future is ours: a growing shortage of raw materials is the biggest issue of this century. We need to switch to the circular economy.


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