A Circular Economy Handbook for Business and Supply Chains

If you are looking for inspiration to implement the circular economy, you can find many examples in this book, written by Catherine Weetman and published by Kogan Page.

According to the publisher, “A Circular Economy Handbook for Business and Supply Chains” is a comprehensive handbook that provides a guide to the circular economy, helping the reader create future-fit, sustainable strategies. Real examples across a range of market sectors could help businesses, students and policymakers to understand the theory and fast-developing practice of circular economy. To help the reader generate ideas, the book provides a holistic framework for the design and supply chain and supporting business models and includes tools the reader can use to get started.

Whilst growing global consumption presents fantastic business opportunities, the current linear systems (take some materials, make a product, use it and then throw it away) are not fit for purpose, the publisher points out. The circular economy unlocks this problem by decoupling resources from consumption. Engaged businesses are rethinking product design, material choices, business models and supply chains.

Some examples

Photo: Kogan Page

In food and agricultural sectors companies are rethinking production methods to recover value from both ingredients and process inputs. Examples of cascaded use, particularly for food ingredients, include orange-peels, informed the author. “The Green Chemistry department at University of York set up the Orange Peel Exploitation Company, a research project involving other universities from Brazil and Spain.” Dairy producers Arla Food Ingredients and Danone create new protein products using whey from the yoghurt process. And Sugarich, according to its own information the UK leader in reprocessing surplus food products, uses waste such as breakfast cereals, including manufacturing waste or out-of-code stock, to create animal food that is traceable from farm to supply.

In the fashion and textiles industry there are also initiatives in regard to circular economy: Japan-based Teijin Fibers developed its “Eco Circle” closed-loop chemical recycling processes in 2002 to refine old polyester into recycled raw material equivalent to the new material (made from petroleum). As reported, Teijin claims the technology reduces energy consumption and CO2 emissions compared to making new polyester and has now 150 participating companies worldwide. “Other organizations are recycling different materials to create yarns and textiles,” Catherine Weetman wrote.

European fire brigades use fire hoses made from a multilayer material. England-based design duo Elvis & Kresse uses the deep red color and tough, flexible as well as hardwearing material of old hoses. “In costing separation the layers, they realized that the hose itself had ‘provenance’ and a great story: saving lives. They wanted to go further than giving the old hose a new ‘useful’ life, instead aiming to transform it into something practical and desirable, ‘something you would want even if it was not recycled, even without the ethics’. The aim is to create classic and timeless designs with high-quality craftsmanship to ensure the new products will last for as long as the reclaimed materials”, the reader is notified. “The products, including belts, wallets and bags, feature linings from upcycled materials such as parachute silk or wedding tablecloths.”

There is even furniture printed from recycled materials: A Dutch student “was designing furniture for his graduation project. Inspired by an old 3D printer, he reprogrammed an industrial robot from a Chinese production to 3D print furniture using materials recycled from old refrigerators,” the author reported. “By 2014, the award-winning designer had expanded the range of furniture and materials, all 100 percent recycled from old plastic toys, videotapes and discarded computer equipment, among other plastic and synthetic wastes.”

According to the publisher, “A Circular Economy Handbook for Business and Supply Chains” is a “must-read for anyone who wants to apply the circular economy today”. Online resources are also available: PowerPoint slides of figures and tables from every chapter created by the author. For further information visit: www.koganpage.com/product/supply-chains-for-a-circular-economy-9780749476755

GR 32017