A lot of the circular economy is centred around making sure that nothing escapes – that everything is kept ‘in the loop’. This is achieved in many ways – products can be rented instead of sold (so materials can be retained by manufacturers), Extended Producer Responsibility could be in place too (so products go back to their manufacturers at end-of-life). But often, there is a lot stuff that is surplus to requirements in one location and faces being wasted if it is not Redirected elsewhere for use…
This is where we connect the dots in the circular economy – and there is a lot that we can easily Redirect.
One of the most recognisable forms of Redirection is the charity shop/thrift store. You don’t need a product, so you donate it, and through the store and a resale, it is redirected to someone who does need it. Simple.
But Redirection can involve the reprocessing of one material to another – and between businesses. It may be a waste stream such as spent coffee grounds that are Redirected to be used as compost for a company that creates grow at home mushroom kits. Or windfall apples that are redirected away from the compost heap and pressed to make locally produced ciders, juices and jams.
And Redirecting our food waste so it doesn’t end up being waste is incredibly important. The amount of energy that goes into making our food is vast (around 30% of our global CO2 equivalent emissions) – and it is estimated 4.5 million tonnes of edible food is wasted by UK households each year. Waste of money, waste of emissions, waste of food.
So, how do we all Redirect stuff?
- got something you don’t need? Donate it. Thrift store, charity shop.
- got waste food? Use apps like Olio to Redirect it to people local to you, for free.
- restaurants, cafes and stores often also have food that is perfectly edible, yet destined for the bin at the end of the day. Check out apps like Too Good To Go to find and buy ‘waste’ food locally to wherever you are.
- found a great product that uses a Redirected waste stream? Support it. We are more likely to see waste steams valued more if we demand them!