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We have a ‘linear economy’, where materials are taken from the environment and used to make products. We then use those products and then we dispose of them. This linear, take-make-use-dispose system creates a pattern of consumption, production and waste that the planet cannot sustain.
A circular economy is a more sustainable and alternative economic system than the linear economy. It minimises waste and pollution and uses fewer resources and energy by reducing waste and keeping products, parts and materials in use. It is not just recycling, but includes repairing, reusing and returning products, for example returning bottles to be refilled.
In the circular economy, the amount produced and consumed is reduced. Waste is reduced and the use of products is maximised before they go back into the system to be used again, minimising waste.
Recycling is a big improvement in the linear economy and is a first step towards a circular economy.
Moving to a circular economy will be a gradual change. It means switching some jobs from extracting raw materials, making new products and disposal, to maintaining, repairing and recycling. Circular economies can sustain more jobs than linear economies as these processes are harder to automate.
A circular economy can:
Circular economy approaches and solutions have always existed and there are many examples, locally and at home, including:
There are more and more examples of organisations and schemes in Belfast that work using the circular economy model. These include:
If you are interested in moving your organisation or company towards a more circular way of working, or would like more information on the circular economy, please email us at email@example.com to request a copy of our circular economy information pack.
UK households waste 6.5 million tonnes of food every year, with 4.5 million tonnes of this food still being edible. An average family of four can save just over £60 a month by reducing their food waste. The aim of this recipe book is to try to reduce the amount of food we throw away, while creating dishes that are easy to prepare, low-budget and produce as little waste as possible.
Our Thrifty Kitchen recipe book is full of delicious and quick meal ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner, using many ingredients and the food stored in our cupboards and fridge-freezers.
It also includes:
For a copy of the book, email firstname.lastname@example.org.