Today's economy is powered by a linear framework that rapidly depletes the planet's natural resources (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2015). The reality of climate change is affecting not only weather patterns and whole ecosystems, but the health, safety, and security of everyone. To combat the climate crisis, a fundamental shift is required in the way the economy functions and creates value. It entails moving away from today's 'take-make-waste' linear model towards the circular economy (CE). An economy where we are taking inspiration from the planet's natural systems - closing loops and thus regenerating resources rather than wasting them.
FROM CONSUMER TO CIRCULAR CITIZEN
THE SHIFT TOWARDS MORE CIRCULARITY IS A SOCIAL SHIFT TOO.
Thinking and acting along linear production and consumption patterns is a social phenomenon whose reshaping requires more than technical or product-oriented approaches: it also involves a re-design of social practices, social structures and consumption patterns.
In a circular society, consumers are aware of their key position in the circular framework. As the end user of a product, consumers determine when and how the (remaining) raw materials are returned to the cycle. Thus, consumers play a crucial role in preserving the value of the products they use and the raw materials they contain. Governments and businesses rely on consumers to adopt behaviours that enable and advance circular value chains.
The actual transition will only take place once the new business and revenue models are collectively embraced, once “sharing” becomes the new “owning”, and once repair and the use of refurbished appliances have gained general acceptance. In short: educational programming and public support is essential.