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Circular Economy Solutions 


Circular Economy Solutions 

The search for solutions to the problems of every age begins with innovative ideas born from inspiration, exploration, and need. Ushma Pandya shares an article on the circular economy and the solution it offers to the problem of garbage overload. 

The circular economy is a trending topic these days and it refers to the idea of keeping materials in use instead of disposing them, generally by landfill/incineration. In the media, we find many examples of how consumers can participate in the circular economy. But it is also possible for companies to participate in the circular economy via their purchasing habits and internal processes. 

Here are some ways that we work with clients on incorporating circularity into their office life. Currently, many people are not in the office but we know that businesses are slowing asking their employees to come back. While the office has low occupancy it is a good time to plan for and implement some of the below.

Ensure Good Recycling

At a minimum, make sure that the organization is recycling correctly (i.e. no contamination such as liquids or paper towels in the recycle) and that all recyclables are put in the right bin. In addition, make sure to separate out specialty recycle material such as electronics, batteries, k-cups, etc. And finally implement composting (more on that below).

Just a quick note that PPE is contaminating the recycling streams currently so it is important to train employees as they come back to the office.

Buy Secondhand – furniture, electronics, etc.

Buying secondhand is a critical component of the circular economy because it keeps materials in circulation and use. Review what is bought in your office and determine what can be bought second hand.

Taking furniture as an example, we work with many businesses who want to donate their furniture when they move offices or do a redesign. It is harder to convince businesses to buy used furniture. It can be challenging to find enough items of the same design or maybe you don’t have the most updated version of a brand model. It requires some pre -planning and contacting vendors and seeing what is available and making design choices that support reuse or second hand. 

The first step is about being open to the idea. And while everything cannot be secondhand , the chairs or the lamps or the keyboards can be. The key is to plan in advance and to incorporate secondhand purchasing into the process.

Focus on Recycled Content

It is important to support the recycling economy by prioritizing purchasing items made of recycled material. This is how recycling can be a viable business model.

Businesses can develop Environmentally Preferred Purchasing (EPP) policies that state that recycled content is a criteria in purchasing decisions for the office – from paper to recycle bins to office supplies. More and more companies are creating items with recycled material and getting support from businesses with large spend is critical. For example, when companies are building out their offices, consider using recycled materials in the build out. 

Establishing Reusable Systems

Many offices provide disposable cups, silverware, plates in their offices. Switching to reusables is a great way to participate in the circular economy and reduce waste. Switching does require having a process for cleaning and storing the items. This can be done via a dishwasher, a rotating job chart or having a cleaning team take responsibility for cleaning dishware. Recently, there are reusable dishware companies that provide “dishwashing as a service”. Dishcraft and Keko Box are two such companies, but we know there are many more depending on the location of your office.


Key points include:

  • Establishing reusable systems
  • Establish circular systems
  • Create swap spots

Read the full article, Circularity and Businesses: What can businesses do to foster the Circular Economy?, on LinkedIn.