Unit 2 Benefits, Challenges and Opportunities of Circular Economy

What is for you a good practice in circular economy? Take some time and write your thoughts before you continuing reading.

As with everything else, circular economy has its benefits. In Europe these can be considerable (i.e., reducing environmental pressures, thus minimising the growing dependence on imports). Increasingly, this dependence is a source of vulnerability. The growing global competition for natural resources has contributed to large price increases, and circular economy strategies could result in considerable cost savings, increasing the competitiveness of industry.

The challenges facing the circular economy are: the growing number of new approaches, and the inevitable friction between the existing linear system and the new approaches. These may be seen as threats by some stakeholders, but as opportunities by others.

Good practices in the circular economy include companies that are already employing, or are experimenting with new business models based on services and consumer functions, and governments that increasingly promote waste prevention.

Good examples can be also find in Non-Profits Organisations.Let’s have a look on the example of Humana Portugal! Since 1998, Humana has been a non-profit association working to protect the environment through the reuse of clothing and other textile products. This association also carries out development cooperation programs in Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique.

The mission of Humana is: “To protect the environment through the reuse of textiles and to improve the living conditions of developing communities, both nationally and internationally, through programs based on solidarity, active organization of people, with special attention to children and youth.”

The values of Humana are “Solidarity, Sustainability, Environmental Awareness, Transparency, Persistence, People Orientation and Professionalism” while its vision is to “improve the living conditions of the world’s most disadvantaged communities and facilitate their economic and social progress and to promote the circular economy”.

How can one collaborate with Humana? People that are interested can donate unused clothes, shoes and other items in the Humanas containers throughout Portugal or even go to the physical stores and buy “second-hand” clothes. Through the network of stores, Humana and partners promote the second life of clothes as a pillar of sustainable fashion.

The diagram explains how Humana uses the donations of shoes and clothes. When the clothes are placed in containers and after being collected by Humana, they go to a specific warehouse, where they are sorted into textile products. The products will be reused in Humana’s stores (14%) and outside Portugal (40%). The products deposited in the Humana containers can be inappropriate (1.5%), some will need to be thrown as they are at the end of their life (7%) and others will be recycled (37.5%).

Do a search and find 3-4 good circular economy practices adopted by companies in Europe

Do a search and find some good circular economy practices in Europe.

The potentials and challenges of circular economy