Changing habits to contribute to a circular economy
Old habits die hard, and none can be truer than the way in which we create and dispose of the products that we use. Moulding the way in which we operate our plant and equipment and manufacture our products – by rethinking and redesigning the way our products are made – will contribute to the impact of what the circular economy is aiming to achieve. For this process to work, it requires commitment not just from large businesses, but also small businesses, organisations and individuals, across the globe.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation states that “Transitioning to a circular economy does not only amount to adjustments aimed at reducing the negative impacts of the linear economy. Rather, it represents a systemic shift that builds long-term resilience, generates business and economic opportunities, and provides environmental and societal benefits.”*
The main features of a circular economy are to ensure that the overall process results in less input of resources and to try and substitute resources for ones that are more sustainable and efficient.**
Reusing, sharing and maintaining products prolongs their lifespan and changes the way in which we so easily dispose of used goods.
After use, the product should be adapted for a different purpose; or remanufactured to its original condition using new or repaired parts.
The final important feature of a circular economy is to recycle and regenerate. At the end of the product’s lifecycle, recycle or regenerate resources rather than leaving it for the waste pile.
RPC advocates a circular economy future for plastic products. The Group’s basic principle of the circular economy is to treat the materials used to manufacture products as valuable resources rather than disposable ones. Equally important and also considered are the energy and water resources used to manufacture the products.
RPC Astrapak CEO Robin Moore says: “We are already driving the concept of the circular economy at the heart of our operations, as well as from the design phase of the products that we create and will continue to increase our efforts to encompass the full life cycle of the product and manufacturing process. With a cradle-to-the-cradle effect, we change our behaviour to extract maximum value from the product while it’s in use.”
Keeping brand owners informed of the cradle-to-cradle effect when it comes to finalising their packaging design is an equally important part of the process in order to gain the full benefit of the circular economy. Pursuing a circular economy reduces waste, drives greater resource productivity, delivers a more competitive economy, and positions us to better address the emerging resource scarcity issues in the future.