The vision for today and our future is a circular economy. A world where humans are so aligned with nature that the oceans don’t contain plastic, that anyone anywhere can drink water from a river or faucet without getting sick, and where all species thrive and the air everywhere is so fresh and so clean (clean).
“A circular economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.”
Ellen MacArthur Foundation
A circular economy is the evolution from our take-make-waste linear economy into a rethink-redesign-regenerate circular economy.
It’s circular because products don’t end up “dead” in landfills and incinerators. Instead, there is a constant rebirth, and our air, water and soil aren’t polluted during the process of making things.
How do we do it?
The best framework for design is looking at each component or material of a product as either biological or technical as defined by the Cradle to Cradle Institute.
Biological products are hemp, cotton, wool, wood, etc. They are considered biological because they are biodegradable and can return to soil serving as nutrients for the rebirth of more of the same.
Technical products are metals and certain plastics (hopefully a ton more “green” innovation in the form of algae, bacteria, enzymes, proteins, etc. is coming on this front). Technical means the industrial material stays in the industrial cycle from which it came from and it is never downcycled.
Need an example?
At NOUR ZERO, our first product is a handbag for professionals called The Everything Tote. It is designed in alignment with the circular economy and 90% waste free. This means that 85% of the handbag’s components are biodegradable materials (exterior and interior canvas) and 5% of the components are technical materials (hardware).
It’s beautiful, exciting, and tangible. The zero waste vision of a circular economy where we are all abundantly thriving is what excites us at NOUR ZERO and we hope it inspires you too.
Illuminate is a different kind of climate magazine. We shed light on the environmental issues facing America and the planet today with a diversity of perspectives, people and circular products to inspire action.