The concept of Zero Waste and a circular economy is nothing new. Historically, our ancestors used materials directly from nature to build tools, shelter, and clothing. Until recently, we took care to keep and repair our possessions for as long as possible, reusing and upcycling materials into new items. The official mantra: make do and mend. Conscious frugality and lifetime guarantee championed heedless spending and built-in obsolescence.
Zero Waste is not the same as recycling. It’s a much bigger concept which involves completely redefining the system, moving into a circular economy, and writing waste out of existence—rather than merely managing it. A world in which woodlands replace landfills. Linear consumption processes are superseded with a closed loop in which all used products are recovered and repurposed. Crucially, circular systems mirror the life cycles in nature.
Nature is the perfect Zero Waste system, and this is exactly why we should listen.
According to the Circularity Gap Report (2021), switching to a circular economy could reduce GHGs by 39% and ease pressure on virgin materials by 28%. Producing raw materials via recycling could cut GHGs by a massive 90%.
Take one famous example. Plastic. We produce over 380 million tonnes of it every year, with reports indicating that 50% of that is for single-use purposes. Utilised for minutes, on the planet for centuries. Something doesn’t add up.
Our waste problem cannot be solved by one company or one government. We need a multitude of organisations facing it head on. Let’s take a look at 10 Positive Members doing just this and pioneering a Zero Waste world.
Excess Materials Exchange – This innovative tech company and digital marketplace finds new high-value reuse options for materials or (waste) products. They match companies to exchange unwanted materials so that nothing is wasted, and the real financial and ecological value of materials is appreciated.
Sea2see – From marine waste to luxury fashion, this pioneering brand produces designer glasses made from discarded fishing nets and ocean plastics. Collaborating with thousands of fishermen in Spain and France, they collect ½ tonne of marine plastic waste per day.
Pandobac – Provide Zero Waste logistics to support any company or community on their journey from disposable to reusable. They guide your strategy as well as supporting operational implementation.
Newcy – The first company to offer a turnkey solution allowing you to replace disposable cups with reusable cups directly into vending machines, water fountains, and cafés. They take care of collecting, cleaning, and returning cups so that you don’t have to.
Ocean Bottle – This small bottle has a big impact; every Ocean Bottle sold funds the collection of 1,000 plastic bottles from coastal regions, turning our plastic problem into a force for good.
Bluedigo – Provides sustainable office furniture solutions with second-hand and repurposed furniture. They also offer valuable advice for companies to become more eco-responsible.
Vepluche – Supports the circular economy for bio-waste, allowing companies who produce green or food waste to transform it into organic compost and nutrient-rich soil to resell.
Olio – One third of all the food we produce is wasted. Olio’s sharing app connects food that would otherwise be wasted with people nearby. The app is already making waves: saving 1 million meals per month.
Ethstat – Provides a one stop ethical shop for all your office and organisational needs, from stationary, to printing cartridges and cleaning supplies. What’s more, they’re a CIC (Community Interest Cooperative), run by the people who work for it and owned by those who use it.
Zero Waste Goods – The name says it all. This wholesome platform connects conscious consumers with independent, sustainable brands, offering a wide selection of curated gift boxes, homeware, beauty products and much more.
Want to learn more about how you and your company can become Zero Waste? Attend the Positive Ask the Expert Q&A on Tuesday 25 May to learn practical insights and ask questions to thought leaders within the Zero Waste space.
Author: Mia Brown at Positive
Positive is the global community for small and medium size enterprises committed to making a Positive Impact. We transform businesses on a mission to become Regenerative and help them reach the highest standards of environmental and social impact. Positive provides you with Network & Community, Toolkits & Expertise, Events & Opportunities, and Visibility showcasing your positive impact.