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Going Round in Circles

Ah, wait - did you think we were describing ourselves in our current situation? That would make sense. Whether it's the news about the climate emergency, crises in various countries around the world, financial concerns. .... our heads are indeed spinning.

Gosh, we've all got a lot going on.

Let’s just take a moment to breathe ………..

Actually we are trying to banish the circle of thoughts chasing each other inside our heads and think of an altogether better circle. We are thinking of the Circular Economy.

It's something we talk about quite a lot. A circular economy is just as it sounds, things going round and round and round, in a very sustainable way. A circular economy designs out waste and pollution, keeps products and materials in use and regenerates natural systems.

How often have we spoken about reusing items, whether that's

· donating to, and taking second hand clothes from, the Wardrobe

· re-purposing wellies as plant pots and penholders

· putting our tealeaves and potato peelings into the compost bin

· upcycling clothing to make beautiful objects to sell in the Wardrobe

And avoiding waste? We give you the Community Fridge.

That's the circular economy, albeit on a small scale.

As individuals we are doing our bit, but we now need businesses to get on board.

And don't think that's not going to happen. Remember, we individuals have a lot of influence here. We can choose which businesses we want to buy from, which services we want to use and we can make those decisions by checking out their green credentials.

Those of you who run your own business have probably already put some thought into this. We hope you are highlighting what you are doing to help the planet in your websites and social media posts. Make it easier for people to get this information and more people will start using it in a positive way. It's a win for the planet and a win for your business.

What about the Right to Repair?

You’ve probably heard of this. Yes, we have the Right to Repair enshrined in our law since2021, a law that is designed to eradicate planned obsolescence and give us the right to repair our own goods, rather than being obliged to send them back to the manufacturer, who will very often choose to provide a replacement rather than fixing the original, but there is some way to go.

We all know that the products we use every day are getting harder and harder to fix. Very often, it is impossible even to open up a device. Software and hardware are ever more entwined, the number of household appliances giving up the ghost after just 5 years is skyrocketing. These items are definitely not being designed to stay within the circular economy. They are falling out of the circle far too quickly and far too often.

You’ll probably not be surprised to know that electrical waste (E-waste) is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world.

In the UK alone, the average person produces 25kg per person per year.

Legislators around the world are looking at how to tackle this issue. We know they have a lot of pressing issues, but if any of them are reading this – could we ask you to get a move on please!

As the law currently stands manufacturers are required to make spare parts available to consumers and third-party companies, with the aim of extending the life cycle of a range of devices and appliances by up to 10 years. Is it a bit odd that only certainly items are covered by this new law? You can be confident if you are buying a dishwasher, washing machine or television that you will be able to get it repaired, but smartphones and laptops are not included. Neither are cookers, microwaves and tumble dryers.

Is there anything we can do? Yes!

The Restart Project, a charity that helps people learn how to repair their broken electronics and re-think how they consume them in the first place, has a petition for the real Right to Repair (remember, there’s still a long way to go).

You could sign it right now. There’s something you could do to help the planet this very moment that will take less than a minute of your time.

Zero Waste Scotland is, as always, a great resource for anyone who wants to find out more about the circular economy.


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