Across Africa, and much of the world, end-of-use plastic is not collected for proper recycling. Instead, it is burnt; ends up in drains, sewers, fields and rivers; or in unprotected landfill, allowing toxins and microplastics to leak out. This is one of the hidden costs of our modern ‘linear’ economy – take, make and waste. Four entrepreneurs are turning that plastic waste into value – creating jobs for both disadvantaged and skilled people, improving local environments, and helping people find a purpose. We dig into their business models and hear their top tips for circular startups
EcoBrixs Mission is “To create green, environmentally friendly, sustainable solutions to lift people out of abject poverty in Uganda”, and it does that by giving trash – waste plastic – a value. That means anyone in the community can recycle.
Eco Brixs started out in 2017. Frustrated with the lack of waste management systems in Masaka, Andy Bownds and his team started collecting plastic in his back garden, and after collecting 2 tonnes, decided to start a simple plastic collection facility called ‘Masaka Recycling Initiative’.
They went further, creating a circular economy solution to recycle plastic which would help support the local communities and economy. They developed an innovative plastic-sand composite paver which has been proven to be stronger, lighter and more durable than concrete. Fast-forward to 2019, and Masaka Recycling Initiative has now evolved into ‘Eco Brixs’, one of the largest recycling facilities outside of Kampala.
The Argeileh Project | Reputation risk | Circular economy video
Close the Loop | Linear risk & circularity gaps | Circularity for human development | Happy Hustle giveaway | Hot Air
The circular economy is an essential tool in mitigating the negative impacts of the climate and ecological crisis. We in the Global North need to do more than anyone, given that we created the problem in the first place. By taking on board the principles of a circular economy, engage in conversation with those around us, lobby people in power and take circular actions in our businesses and homes. This will mean we can move away from our current linear economy as well as reducing carbon emissions which will improve prosperity, enhance the reputation of business, and create healthier lifestyles to the benefit of ourselves and our planet.
Sophie is an established leader in communication and design, and in the investigation and promotion of circular economy design principles. She has been working in the fields of ethical design, behaviour change and material process through her design agency, Thomas.Matthews ltd, for nearly 20 years.
We find out how Sophie uses her experience in sustainable and ethical design to help people understand more about the circular economy. We talk about the groundbreaking Great Recovery Project, which looked at the challenges and opportunities of the CE, through the lens of design. Sophie explains the importance of thinking about the system you are designing for, not just the object or product itself.
We know the circular economy aims to reduce, reuse, remake and eventually to recycle – but what if there is another R – rebound – opening the door for companies to adopt circular strategies and still drive growth in consumption (and pollution and waste)? We explore rebound, ask how to avoid it, and suggest we should be aiming instead for a regenerative economy.
Ecodesign expert Katie Beverley describes herself as a ‘critical friend’ of the circular economy. We dig into Ecodesign principles to find out more, and explore how Ecodesign could add value to circular solutions. Katie explains the benefits of user-centred and systems-thinking approaches. We discuss the business ‘ecosystem’, remanufacturing and the circular economy’s potential for local job creation and social benefits, and Ecodesign expert Katie Beverley describes herself as a ‘critical friend’ of the circular economy. We dig into Ecodesign principles to find out more, and explore how Ecodesign could help overcome the ‘teething problems’ of circular solutions. Katie explains the benefits of user-centred and systems-thinking approaches. We discuss the business ‘ecosystem’, remanufacturing and the circular economy’s potential for local job creation and social benefits, and Katie tell us about a range of projects she’s supported as Senior Research Officer with Ecodesign Centre, PDR, at Cardiff Metropolitan University in Wales.
This first episode is a quick intro to explain what the circular economy is and why it’s important. We’ll explore how it helps create better products and services, and at the same time helps to make a better world.
Maybe you already have some green, or community-focussed elements in your business, and you want to go further: to find ways of being more sustainable and profitable! The circular economy can help you do that, and strengthen your business in lots of ways.
We’ll talk about the aims of circular approaches, then we’ll break it down into my 5 components, helping you think about each part of your business.
Next, we’ll look at the benefits for business, with some examples, so you can think about how it can help your own business.