The Importance of Inclusive Conversations in Advancing Circular Economy

Alfred Tang

Hatched by Alfred Tang

Feb 12, 2024

3 min read


The Importance of Inclusive Conversations in Advancing Circular Economy

Circularity, the concept of eliminating waste and maximizing resource efficiency, has gained significant attention in recent years. As we strive to create a more sustainable future, it is crucial to involve all stakeholders in the conversation, even those who may be part of the problem. This article explores the significance of including corporations in circularity discussions and addresses the misconceptions surrounding certain materials like PLA.

In the pursuit of circularity, it is essential to recognize that progress can come in small steps. While some may argue that incremental improvements in products or packaging are merely greenwashing, it is important to acknowledge and appreciate these advancements. For instance, changing the tint of a plastic bottle from green to clear PET may seem insignificant, but it signifies progress in terms of recyclability. By encouraging companies to share their improvements, we create an atmosphere of collaboration and continuous improvement.

However, there are instances where certain materials, such as PLA, face restrictions despite being labeled as biodegradable plastics. PLA, a bio-based and compostable material, has been banned from use in several places. This decision stems from concerns about the improper disposal of PLA, which leads to it being treated as traditional plastic waste. This mixing of PLA with traditional plastics during the recycling process compromises its properties for secondary plastic production. It is crucial to understand that the responsibility for the fate of PLA extends beyond the material itself. Proper waste management and disposal practices are equally important to ensure the full potential of PLA as a sustainable alternative to traditional plastics.

Circularity cannot be an exclusive club that only includes those who have already achieved perfection. By incorporating corporations, even those that contribute to the problem, we can tap into their resources, influence, and capacity to implement solutions at scale. Excluding them from the conversation would hinder progress and limit the potential for widespread change. Therefore, it is crucial to create a space where companies can openly discuss their challenges, share their progress, and collaborate on finding innovative solutions.

To advance circularity, here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Foster collaboration: Encourage open dialogue and collaboration between companies, policymakers, and environmental organizations. By bringing together diverse perspectives, we can develop comprehensive strategies and initiatives that address the complexities of circularity.
  • 2. Set realistic targets: Instead of expecting immediate perfection, set realistic goals and targets for companies to work towards. Recognize and celebrate incremental improvements, as they signify progress and encourage further innovation.
  • 3. Educate and engage: Promote awareness and education about the importance of circularity among consumers, employees, and stakeholders. By fostering a culture of sustainability, we can drive demand for circular products and services, encouraging companies to adopt more sustainable practices.

In conclusion, circularity requires inclusivity and collaboration. It is important to involve corporations, even those contributing to the problem, in the dialogue surrounding sustainability and circular economy. By recognizing incremental progress, addressing misconceptions about materials like PLA, and fostering collaboration, we can accelerate the transition towards a more sustainable future. Let us embrace the power of inclusive conversations and work together to build a circular economy that benefits all.

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