Exploring the Circular Economy

IKEA is transitioning to the Circular Economy model. The Kungsbacka kitchen fronts are made entirely from 100% recycled FSC(R) certified wood and PET-bottles.
IKEA KUNGSBACKA kitchen fronts are made entirely from 100% recycled FSC(R) certified wood and PET-bottles.

Have you guys heard of the Circular Economy? Does anyone have any idea what the Circular Economy is? I didn’t until a few months ago but I’d noticed it popping up quite frequently so I decided that I needed to find out more about this concept. And I wasn’t disappointed as it is a super interesting topic and one that I felt everyone in the design industries should be aware of. In fact, given the enormity of the impending environmental crisis, I think everyone, in general, should be more aware of this new economic model.

Really has adopted the Circular Economy model. It upcycles end-of-life textiles to create viable new materials that can be recycled again and again.
Really upcycles end-of-life textiles to create viable new materials that can be recycled again and again.

In June, an article I wrote about the Circular Economy appeared in Designer Kitchen & Bathroom magazine. In it, I explored the need for a transition away from a linear economic model that relies on cheap, widely available resources to create favourable conditions for economic growth and stability. I examined the need to move towards a more circular model that can decouple economic growth and revenues from consumption of resources.

I hunted high and low for examples of companies who are attempting to make their processes and their products not only more sustainable but more circular in nature. This involves a 5 R approach β€” repair, reuse, refurbish, remanufacture, and recycle.

Reform operates a Circular Economy model by collaborating with Lendager Group to reuse the surplus wood from Danish flooring manufacturer Dinesen to create their UP kitchen.
Reform collaborates with architecture firm Lendager Group and uses the surplus wood from Danish flooring manufacturer Dinesen to create their UP kitchen.

My article is actually a really interesting read and I’m not just saying that because I wrote it. I spent days researching the topic, reading every article I could find and speaking to people who have first-hand experience of the circular economy.

If you fancy giving it a read you can find the full article here:

If you do read it, please let me know what you think. And definitely let me know if there are any more companies you are aware of that are embracing the circular model.

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  • Thanks for sharing this article. I did have some knowledge about companies especially those in the furniture industry using recycled materials to come up with new product ranges in order to minimise waste but wasn’t aware that it was referred to a particular term (circular model) until I came across your article and ever since have been doing some reading up on Google about it.

    Arvind
    Alankar Interiors and Beyond

  • It so easy to always think new, but why does new always also have to be a new resource? I really like Emeco for this reason as Emeco all-aluminium chairs are 100% recyclable. In fact, many of their chairs are made by hand and mostly from recycled stuff. For example, their 111 Navy Chair is made from 111 recycled plastic bottles and the Broom Chair by Philippe Starck from 90% reclaimed materials. It’s a philosophy I’d love to see more of.

  • This is something I had never heard of Stacey – so thank you for your post. This is definitely the way forward. We are such throw away disposable society that it worries me that we are not concerned about the future. Recycling and adapting products is the way forward – so hopefully more companies will be taking note and this will be a growing trend.

    • I’m pretty confident that the younger generations totally get it and are going to do all they can to save our planet. There are some great companies out there that are coming up with super innovative ideas and it’s great to see.

  • Thanks for sharing the pdf article, Stacey. I didn’t know much about the concept but you dug deep into it and put together a fab piece.

    Sorry if this is a duplicate comment. I’m not sure if the other one went through.

    • Thanks Juan. This is what I love to do more than anything. Writing really in-depth pieces about more complicated issues. I;m really excited to see how things develop with the circular economy. It just makes so much sense for the environment, for consumers and for business.