The 7R’s of Circular Economy

Reuse: Over time, many products can be used in multiple applications. Even if the original customer no longer requires a product due to a change in circumstances or because he no longer desires it, there is a good chance that the product will still be in good enough condition to allow for new use by someone else. This philosophy is apparent in individuals who donate clothes or furniture, instead of throwing them out, and in people who frequently visit second-hand shops.

Recycle: Reintroducing waste that has already been used up in a production process allows it to be utilized as a raw material once more for the creation of new goods. Recycling offers a plethora of opportunities and excellent resource optimization. For example, glass that is placed in a recycling bin is sorted by colour and cleaned in a glass treatment facility. The material is then broken down, melted, and turned into fresh goods like bottles that are ready for reuse.

Reduce: Reduce can be applied in two ways

  • For the consumers: we buy a lot, consume a lot, and throw away a lot. A good way of taking care of the environment is to reduce the number of products that we buy and waste.
  • Reducing the number of raw materials used to develop a product is the meaning of the term “reduce” at the industrial level. This can be accomplished by considering non-essential product characteristics, such as packaging, avoiding plastic bags, etc.

Rethink: Rethink, or redesign is about considering the environment and ecology. It is not only about functionalities but also about the raw material, the packaging, etc.

Repair: Repair is simply about fixing what is broken and putting it again into service in good condition. It is simple and efficient. It’s all about reducing the tendency of throwing away damaged products. Most of the time, a product has the capacity to serve its purpose for a far greater time frame, if its user bothers to repair it. This is especially true about electric and electronic devices since with the replacement of only a single component, their life span can massively increase.

Renovation/Renewal/Refurbish: You don’t need to buy everything brand-new, and vintage is the new trend. Why then not follow the movement? Refurbishing typically refers to renovating a building’s older spaces. The principle of renovation and renewal refers to the restoration of older products such as furniture, and cars to make them usable again. It doesn’t only help the planet; it helps us as well. Renovating a product or space exponentially increases its monetary value.

Recovery: Recovery places more of an emphasis on available resources. In recovery, people use waste as an input source to produce new, useful products. The goal is to minimize waste production to maximize waste value and reduce the need for landfill space. A great example of this practice is the usage of old, used cooking oil as fuel or utilizing the exothermic properties of composting organic waste to create heat.