World Environment Day is celebrated annually on the 5th of June. The day aims to promote awareness and action to protect the environment. This year, the focus is exploring solutions to beat plastic pollution. One of the ways we can do this is through embracing and transitioning to a circular economy.
What is a circular economy?
The circular economy focuses on reusing, recycling and refurbishing existing products and materials. Maximising a product’s useful life is key to a circular economy. By doing so, we can reduce waste and lower the carbon and environmental impact of manufacturing new goods. However, for this to be successful, we have to establish change during the initial stages of the product’s conception, including the design, business model and a clear understanding of consumer behaviour.
Currently, studies demonstrate that systems that focus on reusability yield the highest opportunity to reduce plastic pollution (a reduction of 30% by 2040) by replacing some of the most problematic and unnecessary products (The Pew Charitable Trusts and Systemiq 2020). However, a significant volume of plastics cannot be made circular in the next 10 to 20 years and must be responsibly disposed of to prevent pollution. If recycling plastics becomes a more stable and profitable venture, we can reduce plastic pollution by an additional 20% by 2040 (The Pew Charitable Trusts and Systemiq 2020).
In the UK, we recycle 37% of all plastic (PlasticsEurope 2022). However, the UK exports over 60% of the plastic packaging waste it creates, with Turkey being the central destination for this waste (GOV UK). In the long term, we must move away from this throwaway economy towards a sustainable circular economy that allows us to process plastic waste in the UK.
How DefProc can help you
We encourage all our clients to use the circular economy model for their projects. As well as the positive environmental impact, this method means less waste and lower overall costs. Examples of what we can do:
- Push to Talk: Our device buttons are made with ABS plastic, a robust material that lasts for a long time. However, users of Push to Talk may only need the service for a short period. At the end of their life cycle with each user, we will refurbish and reuse the devices.
- SmUPS: Our upcoming project will adopt the circular economy model. Minimising costs is imperative for healthcare services. As a result, end-of-life recycling is part of the product’s design. When the user no longer requires the device, we will collect, clean and refurbish it before it is made available to the next user.
As a business, we recognise that we have a role in reducing plastic pollution. We are constantly researching and developing innovative ways to reduce our environmental impact. You can read more about other projects we’ve worked on here.