The circular economy: a new economic model for the future?
Protecting the planet has become a necessity. To do this, we need to change the way we consume.
The linear “extract, make, consume” economy is not viable over the long run, but a circular economic model is a more sustainable and ethical choice, given the environmental issues we now have to deal with.
Why do we need to change our economic model?
Our current economy has a linear structure. This means that businesses tend to produce goods that are disposed of after use.
The linear economy is based on the assumption that resources are endless. Yet we know this is not the case. Our economy has been very resource-intensive for a long time, generating a lot of waste, but very little chance of a viable future.
However, now that we are facing environmental problems, the limits of the linear economy are becoming more apparent. Effective measures need to be taken if we want to halt climate change, pollution and the other environmental issues our economic model causes.
The circular economy’s benefits
The circular economy offers a new way of thinking about a product or service’s life cycle. We have to imagine how goods and services can be hired out. It is essential that we stop selling products and, instead, sell the right to use them. That means recycling options need to be built into products’ design.
Benefits for the environment
The circular economy aims to generate growth that is not based on draining resources. In a circular economy, renewable energy and recycling are encouraged. It is a collaborative, environmentally-friendly and participation-based process.
There are three key elements to the circular economy:
- The market
- Natural resources
This economy only works when all three elements are in place.
Job creation benefits
This new business model based on reusing or repurposing and eco-design will be an important job creator in the coming years.
The French government has unveiled a road map for developing this new system in France. Analysis has shown that the new model will generate about 300,000 jobs.
The circular economic market we have positioned ourselves in should expand by 35% annually in Europe (as opposed to the wider economy which is set to grow by 3%), going from a value of €4 billion today to €83 billion by 2025.
It is therefore a market with plenty of potential and a bright future.
France plans to legislate against waste and boost the circular economy
All these objectives were given a significant boost a while ago by France’s potential new anti-waste law, which aims to cut back on the amount of garbage the country produces and improve recycling. On Wednesday 10 July 2019, Secretary of State Brune Poirson presented her anti-waste law to the French cabinet.
Here are its key aims:
- Aim no.1: Put a stop to waste and combat obsolescence. It will be illegal to throw away unsold new items. Donations to charities will be encouraged.
- Aim no.2: Make sure consumers are better informed. The law plans to launch a system informing consumers about products’ repairability. Products will have to display the “Triman” logo. Bins right across France will
also use the same colour scheme.
- Aim no.3: Extend manufacturers’ responsibilities.
- Aim no.4: Improve waste collection. This means introducing a deposit scheme for plastic bottles, much like the one that used to exist for glass. The objective here is to sell bottles to consumers for a higher price but give them some money back for returning them empty.
Armor Office Printing’s strategy
The circular economy has been a part of our business’ strategy for the past few years.
A decision was made to produce remanufactured cartridges using empty OEM cartridges linked into a collection system.
We are 100% committed to this approach. Cartridges which are still suitable for use are remanufactured, while others are dismantled so that their parts can be used and transformed into office supplies, for instance.
In June 2016, Armor Office Printing won the BPCE Corporate Social Responsibility prize.