Circular economy solutions are needed to safeguard biodiversity and solve the climate crisis. This is boldly stated in the website of the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. The circular economy is a tool for decreasing waste. In addition, it is a tool to increase sharing, leasing, repair, reuse and recycling. The circular economy is, therefore, much more than the mere recycling of raw and other materials. The circular economy requires experts from various fields, seamless cooperation and the sharing of best practices and knowledge. These are the means to promote the circular economy.
Why is it so important to promote the circular economy? Let’s start with the industrial circular economy. It is estimated that some 95% of waste created in Finland is not household waste. This, if anything, is a clear sign that something needs to be done. The utilisation of these material flows can be promoted through the circular economy. The industrial circular economy is considered to have great potential for improving the competitiveness of our industry and offering business opportunities for new operators.
One company’s waste can be another company’s raw material. The efficient utilisation of not only raw materials but also technologies, services and energy creates added value for companies. This is called industrial symbiosis. The development of industrial symbioses is considered to play an important role in developing products and services. At the same time, it also enables a more efficient way of generating ideas and testing new innovations. This will result in new expertise which, in turn, will generate new business.
‘We must move from a linear economy to a circular economy.’
Why is it so important to promote the circular economy in our everyday lives? I’m sure you have all heard the phrase ‘we consume more than the Earth can handle’. Overconsumption is the underlying cause of climate change and the plummeting biodiversity. In order to escape from the vicious circle of overconsumption, the circular economy must come to the rescue. We must move from a linear to a circular economy, because a circular economy keeps materials in constant circulation and hence consumption is no longer based on the ‘take, make, waste’ model. I have shared some of my circular economy actions earlier in my blog Pieniä arjen tekoja. Sometimes your own everyday actions, such as sorting household waste, may seem insignificant. However, the more people do these ‘insignificant and mundane’ deeds, the greater are their positive impacts.
You don’t move to a full-scale circular economy in the blink of an eye or overnight. Consumers play an important role in the circular economy, but in order to encourage companies to make better use of circular economy solutions, they need support for their R&D. Finnish know-how in the circular economy was recognised a long time ago, and the circular economy technologies and solutions that have been developed are considered to have great export potential. So, once again, we are facing a very important matter and that is exactly why it is so important to promote the circular economy.