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Circular Economy(CE) for sustainability

Over the last 150 years, our industrial economy has been dominated by a one-way model of production and consumption in which goods are manufactured from raw materials, sold, used and then incinerated or discarded as waste. In the face of a rising global population and the associated growing resource consumption and negative environmental impacts, it becomes increasingly apparent that business as usual is not an option for a sustainable future. While the concept of a circular economy has been discussed since the 1970s, switching from the current linear model of economy to a circular one has recently attracted increased attention from major global companies and policymakers. As a result of growing interest in the business opportunities created by a Circular Economy (CE), its practical applications to modern economic system and industrial processes have recently gained momentum among companies and governments. In that regard, understanding the concept of CE is a key prerequisite for a successful implementation within a business. As the concept of CE has been evolving since 1970s building on different schools of thought, its description and principles have been stressed from the different points of view in the academic and grey literature. Therefore, it is crucial to get a common understanding of what a circular economy entails.
 Then, what is a Circular Economy? A circular Economy (often referred to simply as circularity) is an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and continual use of resources. Circular system employ reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling to create a close loop system, minimizing the use of resource inputs and creation of waste, pollution and carbon emission. The circular economy aims to keep products, equipment’s and infrastructures in use for longer, thus improving the productivity of these resources. All waste should become “food” for another process: either a by-product or recovered resource for another industrial process or as regenerative resources for nature e.g compost. The regenerative approach is in contrast to the traditional linear economy which has a take-make-dispose model of production. Proponents of the circular economy suggest that a sustainable world does not mean a drop in the quality of life for consumers and can be achieved without loss of revenue or extra costs for manufactures. The argument is that circular business model can be as profitable as linear models, allowing us to keep enjoying similar products and services.
    Manufacture, use and disposal? No, reduce, reuse and recycle. The current paradigm of linear economic model could be coming to an end and its place will be taken by the circular economy. The current model of production and management of resources, goods and services that seeks to promote short term consumption is leading the planet to an unsustainable situation. The nowadays economic system is the opposite of the life cycle of nature and collides with the sustainable development, focussed on the long term. In nature there is no waste or landfill: all elements play a role continuously and are reused in different stages. Taking as an example the cyclical nature pattern, circular economy is presented as a system of resources utilization where reduction , reuse and recycling of elements  prevails: minimize production to a bare minimum and when it’s necessary to use the product, go for the reuse of the elements that cannot return to the environment. That is, the circular economy promotes the use of as many as biodegradable materials as possible in the manufacture of products- biological nutrients—so that they can get back to nature without causing environmental damage at the end of their useful life. When it is not possible to use eco-friendly materials- technical nutrients: electronics, hardware, batteries etc, the aim is to facilitate a simple uncoupling to give them a new life by reintroducing them into the production cycle and compose a new piece. When this is not possible, it will be recycled in a respectful way with the environment. Unlike other economic model where the economic aspect prevails over the social or environmental, circular economy is substantial improvement common to both business and consumers. Companies that have implemented this system are proving that reusing resources is much more cost effective than creating them from scratch. As a result production prices are reduced so that the sale price is also lowered, thereby benefiting the consumer not only economically but also in social and environmental aspect. Intuitively, the circular economy would appear to be more sustainable than the current linear economic system. Reducing the resources used and the waste and the leakage created, conserves resources and helps to reduce environmental pollution. The circular economy can cover a broad scope like industrial applications with both product- oriented and services, practice and policies to better understand the limitations that the CE currently faces , strategic management for details of the CE and different outcomes such as potential re-use application and waste management.
     The CE includes products, infrastructures, equipment and services and applies to every industry sector. It includes technical, resources (metals, minerals, fossil resources) and biological resources (food, fibres, timber etc.). A circular economy within the textiles industry refers to the practice of cloths and fibres continually being recycled to re-enter the economy as much as possible rather than ending up as waste. The construction sector is one of the World’s largest waste generators. The CE appears as a helpful solution to diminish the environmental impact of the construction industry. The CE is beginning to catch on inside the automotive industry. It is stated that CE could redefine competitiveness in the automotive sector in terms of price, quality and convenience and could double revenue by 2030 and lower the cost base by up to 14%. So far it has typically translated itself into using parts made from recycled materials, remanufacturing of car parts and looking at the design of new cars. Not only these CE started looking towards in all possible sectors. Rethinking growth for longer prosperity shows that a CE path to development could bring India’s annual benefits of Rs .40 lakhs corer in 2050 compared with the current development path- a benefit equivalent to 30% of India’s current GDP. Now the whole world has set their eyes toward CE for sustainable development and better environment for the emerging world. But can Manipur join this rest in the near future to come? It’s doubtful because the idea of Circular Economy is still yet to reach among our common mass, policymakers, public/ political leaders as they all are concentrating their mind to rich quick through get free idea and contract works where easy money can be made through akash bill forgetting about the unbearable scenes of corruption, favouritism, nepotism,poverty,social-unrest,law&order crisis,deadlocks in education & problems pouring on our environment. Now, it is the time to give mass awareness about Circular Economy to our common masses for a better future.

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. Presently, he is teaching Mathematics at NIELIT. Jugeshwor can be reached at: [email protected] Or WhatsApp’s No: 9612891339.

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