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Circular Living Golden Rules:

Reduce buying new things, there is joy in 2nd hand!
Repair and reuse products whenever you can.
When things really have to go… recycle them correctly.

Interested in a more Circular lifestyle? We’ve got some ideas for you!

Taken a stroll along the beach or a dander into the village recently? We think you’ll agree that, unfortunately, it is still pretty common to spot pieces of rubbish strewn about, from plastic caught in the hedgerow to microplastics mixed up with the seaweed. Our modern society creates an enormous amount of material, which currently ends up as waste.

We extract valuable raw materials, process them into products, only to use them briefly and throw them away. And so, a harmful cycle is born – Extraction, Waste, Pollution. This journey has a clear start and end point, and is referred to as a Linear Economy.

But happily, there is another way! A Circular Economy instead mimics the beautiful synchronicity of nature, where there is no concept of waste at all. Nature uses resources with care, shepherds them carefully through the lifecycle and recovers them fully, ensuring the circle can continue. Landfills don’t exist, and nothing is wasted, everything becomes a resource for another process. It is very possible for our modern society to transform our world by building these principles into our way of living!

We’ve gathered some ideas to help you build these Circular Economy principles into your daily life. From the simple to the more complex, we hope there is something for everyone. Nobody is perfect, but lots of little changes can help bring Circularity to the masses!

1. Develop a Circular Lifestyle mindset

The first port of call is simply to consider the basic circular principle in your day-to -day. Be mindful and proactive, but mostly simply stopping to consider these principles:

• Reducing or refusing consumption.
• Repairing and reusing products.
• Recycling waste, but only after an item is beyond repair and reuse.

2. Refuse single-use & eliminate waste

Plastics provide great functionality, they have desirable qualities such as being lightweight, strong, and waterproof. So, when designed with durability and their full lifecycle in mind, can be a great addition to our daily lives. But these properties can also mean that plastics persist long beyond their intended use phase, polluting the natural world, with devastating consequences. Single-use plastics are goods which are predominantly made of fossil-fuel based chemicals and are meant to be disposed of right after use. Around 80% of the plastic in the ocean comes from the land, with over 8 million tonnes of plastic ending up in our oceans annually. Choosing to re-use and do things differently can have a massive impact on mitigating and reducing the harmful impact we have.

• Bring your own reusable bag with you.
• Bring your own reusable water bottle and cup.
• Buy loose fruit and veg without packaging.
• Visit zero-waste stores.
• Bring Tupperware to a restaurant and take home your leftovers.
• Use refill stations for cosmetics and cleaning products.

3. Borrow instead of buy

Why should we borrow instead of buying? Borrowing allows us to reduce the number of new materials and resources which are needed for the creation of new products. Therefore, if we borrow items instead of buying new ones, we enable more value to be derived from less, and we keep items in use for longer.

• Visit a product library: www.libraryofthings.co.uk
• Borrow from a friend or neighbour.
• Visit a library.

4. Reduce food waste

The most effective way to reduce our food-related impact is to make sure that we don’t waste any! It is presently understood that a staggering 30% of all food produced is thought to be wasted, this highlights a clear problem with the existing linear food system. We as individuals can make small changes that can enable us to play our part in helping to reduce this impact.

• Plan meals ahead, label short-life products and prioritise these.
• What do you already have at home, what could you purchase to compliment these items, so they don’t get thrown away?
• Use leftovers to cook new and more creative recipes.
• Use apps like Too Good To Go.
• Use a food-sharing platform.
• Freeze your leftovers.
• Consult the temperature of your fridge and freezer.
• Store your items better.
Love Food Hate Waste | Food Waste prevention.

5. Dispose correctly

• Do you really need to throw? Is there somewhere else it could go?
• Review the waste separation guides. Check www.recyclenow.com for up-to-date guidance!
• Dispose of electronic devices (including cables) correctly.
• Consider composting any food waste.
• If it’s beyond repair, is there a take-back scheme to make sure the item is either repaired in-house or properly taken apart and recycled?
Waste: recycling product-by-product guide | Green Choices. 

6. Repair don’t throw

It’s important that we are mindful of the opportunities and resources we have around us, to keep the stuff we already have, in use. By participating in activities such as repairing and refurbishing, we can give our stuff a new lease of life!

• DIY – use IFIXIT or look for other tutorials online.
• Take it to a repair café. – In today’s society, when something breaks, we throw it away. But this isn’t the only option, instead, we can take it to a Repair Café! A Repair Café is a place that is equipped with the tools, materials, and advice to enable you to repair what’s broken, whether it be a bike, electrical appliance, item of clothing, etc. Why not find one near you? 

7. Eat Circular

One of the best ways to have a big impact is to reduce or attempt to eliminate food waste. Once this has been tackled, we can try to introduce other alternatives too, like eating seasonal meals and buying locally sourced produce.

• Try more meat-free meals.
• Buy local, regional, and seasonal foods. Buy local food buy seasonal food farm shops sustainable food organic food.
• Support local initiatives which are working on food waste prevention
• Why not check out Love Food Hate Waste to discover some simple tips and guidance to enable you to make the most of your food at home. 

8. Reuse and repurpose

If you can no longer make use of something, see if someone else can! Or get creative, instead of throwing things away we can find new, unique ways of utilising our old items and transforming them into something new.

• Upcycle
• Sell – next time you decide you want to have a refresh and want to get rid of your sofa, if it isn’t broken, why not list it on Freecycle, Facebook marketplace or eBay, and let it have a new lease of life? This is a great way to extend the life of a product.
• Re-gift – don’t let things gather dust, why not share with someone else who might make better use of it?

9. Buy Circular

• Buy second-hand.
• Vinted
• Depop
• eBay
• Facebook Marketplace
• Visit a public bookcase.
• Visit an antique market.
• Identify a circular brand or option.
• Buy refurbished.
• Rent instead of buy, choose access over ownership.

10. Regenerate

• Grow at home. Building a square foot garden: Journey to Forever
• Re-plant/ regrow.
• Support or participate in a Community Supported Agriculture initiative. 
• Could you go green – Think home Solar.

11. Move Circular

Current modes of mobility have massive implications, creating 17.1 billion tonnes of GHG emissions a year, a huge polluting impact. It’s equally staggering to consider that in Europe privately owned vehicles sit unused for 90% of the time. There are lots of different ways to have an impact in our daily lives, just through using an alternative:

• Use public transport.
• Walk or cycle.
• Car share.
• Holiday closer to home.
• Travel less often.

Would you like to upgrade your understanding of the circular economy?

Why not take this short course introducing the circular economy:

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/circular economy-the-big-idea

Reusable Coffee Cups

Reusable Water Bottles