We are currently using more raw materials than the earth has to offer. This means that we must use our raw materials in a smarter way. The circular economy is based on the premise that there is no such thing as waste. After use, each product forms a raw material for new products. A cycle.
In today's linear economy, however, the focus is on the production, use and disposal of products. Which results in huge mountains of waste. This is very wasteful as these waste streams contain materials that can be used as raw materials for new products. The solution lies in circularity or, in other words, in closing loops.
A circular economy is an economic and industrial system based on the reusability of products and raw materials and the recoverability of natural resources. It minimises value destruction in the entire system and strives to create value in every link of the system.
One of the spearheads of the circular economy is the reduction of waste. Companies can make a difference here. After all, offices produce massive amounts of waste. This includes daily waste such as cardboard coffee cups, packaging, food waste, cleaning products and (recovered) paper.
In addition, companies are confronted with waste streams that may not occur on a daily basis, but which do have an impact. This includes maintenance, the changing of an office layout or possible construction work.
How can you, as a facility manager, participate with your company in the circular economy and reduce waste? Everything begins with setting objectives around sustainability and circularity. Then, when purchasing a product or service, opting for the solution that makes it possible to achieve the objectives set. After purchase, you will have to make agreements about the use and the process after the end of the use in order to avoid waste and depreciation.
One potential way to get started with circularity and the reduction of waste is to make your processes and consumption transparent. What is your current consumption? What can you save on? Based on these insights, you can set goals regarding circularity.