What is a circular economy?

- March 04, 2020

The “produce, use, discard” mentality of linear economy is coming to an end. We have reached a turning point in which the concept of a circular economy is on the forefront. This new model of “produce, use, reuse and recycle” becomes an increasingly important as we run out of our natural resources.


Circular economy in a nutshell

So what does circular economy really mean? Many think that it mainly concerns sorting and recycling waste, but it is so much more than that. The Ellen MacArthur foundation explains the concept by dividing it into three main principles:


1.Optimising resource yields
Our planet has a finite amount of resources. Especially resources used in production and development of technology are depending on us to preserve and reuse them. In the circular economy, the raw materials are used and reused for as long and as many times as possible before recycling them as a last resort.


2. Fostering system effectiveness and designing out negative externalities
We need to minimise damage to existing systems, and control and manage negative externalities such as air pollution. In the circular economy, negative externalities are taken into account and incorporated into the product price.


3.Preserving and enhancing natural capital
In the circular economy, resources are selected carefully when needed, and derive from renewable and/or resource effective processes and technologies.


In short, circular economy means exactly that, the economy should be a closed loop, a circle. We should use and reuse as much as we can for as long as possible. Not only the products themselves, but also the number of components that equal the product. Recycling is only the last resort.


Trash or goldmine?

The EU-countries alone discard 20-50 metric tonnes of e-waste every year. Much of which is still usable, or at the very least holds value in terms of components and raw materials. This enormous compound of much needed materials needs to be taken advantage of.


3stepIT has been working with the circular economy at its core for 20 years. Our business model covers the entire IT life cycle from acquisition to replacement, reuse and recycling. Over the years we have bought over 5 million used devices, refurbished and resold them. We are proud of the fact that we resell over 98% of returned devices, leaving only 2% to be recycled in a responsible manner.


The road towards change

There is an increasing awareness and adaptation towards circular economy. We embrace the change in many cases and more corporations and governments are taking actions to make our lives more sustainable and make the most of our resources. Unfortunately, not everyone is on board or even aware of the change to come. The EU emission report states that only 9,1% of the world economy is circular.


In 3stepIT we work towards a circular economy every day. We meet our customers’ needs without compromising security or environment. Find out more about our sustainable services here. 


Source: https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy

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