A new circular economy strategy
What is the circular economy?
The concept of the circular economy isn’t new, just dormant. It gained momentum in the late 1970s led by a small number of academic thought leaders who were aiming to move away from the “take, make and dispose” linear industrial model.
As the scale of what we’re designing is shifting from products, to companies, to economic systems, the circular economy is making a comeback.
What is the circular economy? In the traditional linear economic model, when a material serves its purpose, it’s thrown out or warehoused where it slowly depreciates in value. In the circular economy, materials are given a new purpose, thrusted back into a useful cycle. The circular economy builds new economic capital through regeneration, giving businesses a competitive advantage.
How do I implement the circular economy?
The circular economy model involves a systems thinking approach that occurs by marrying your design, processing and manufacturing processes. Environmentally responsible organizations that adopt circular economy methodology can unlock new revenue streams.
But in order to do this, everyone in the supply chain must play a significant role in:
- Understanding the current technologies that exist in the organization
- Knowing if there’s a market for your assets once they’re repurposed
- Purposely designing waste out of products in the earliest stages of the product lifestyle
Obviously, it is most cost-efficient to manufacture using old materials versus new materials. However, there is still division between those who believe we should recover everything, and those who simply wish to focus on a few select materials. This is because the circular economy model is difficult to scale, and sound strategies around the procurement of resources must exist in order for organizational-wide “buy in” – from the CEO down to the design and manufacturing floor.
Rheaply Asset Exchange Manager brings the shared economy to resource procurement
Rheaply Asset Exchange Manager (AxM) is a new platform that allows organization to move towards the circular economy. Rheaply is a Chicago-based tech startup that has captured the interest of higher education, government, manufacturers, and other organizations in R&D and the built environment with a large inventory of surplus assets.
Rheaply AxM unlocks the value of underutilized assets by bringing the shared economy to resource procurement. Sharing and collaboration form just one part of the larger circular economy discussion, but it’s an area where organizations can make an immediate impact.
Rheaply helps to maximize use of and optimize resources and material flows within organizations. This idea was recently featured in Nature, in an article entitled, “How going green can raise cash for your lab“. This article highlights the power of sharing surplus scientific supplies and resources in R&D facilities, and how doing so can bring extra cash to the lab.