Tackling climate change is more important than ever before. It’s the biggest threat to humanity but there are initiatives we can put in place to make a difference and meet the goal set out at COP26 to keep the global average temperature rise below 1.5 o C.
We believe that creating a more circular economy is key to protecting the planet. A circular economy can be best understood as a strategy that reduces, reuses and recycles material to eliminate waste, lower resource consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
With the UK generating 222.2 million tonnes of waste in 2018 alone (source: GOV UK), a circular economy is most definitely needed to ensure that much of this waste is recovered and reused rather than sent to landfill or abroad.
We have our own Circular Economy Scheme in place here at DCW and implement various initiatives within our South West recycling business to ensure that waste is given a new lease of life. Read on to discover the latest circular economy schemes from around the world and what DCW is doing to contribute.
Burger King – UK
We were excited to hear that Burger King UK is partnering with Loop, the global shopping platform for reuse, to trial a recycle and reuse system for its cups and packaging.
Many of us love a treat from our favourite fast food restaurants but unfortunately, their popularity means that an incredible amount of waste is generated. For example, it is estimated that UK consumers who purchase lunch from their favourite fast food restaurant generate 11 billion items of packaging waste every year (source: Takeaway Packaging).
Burger King is tackling the problem with its new circular system, the first of its kind from a fast food restaurant in the UK. For a £1 deposit, customers can choose to purchase some food and drink items in a reusable cup or burger container named the ‘clamshell’. After consumption, customers scan the packaging’s bar code before dropping it in a Loop bin which can be found outside participating Burger King restaurants. The packaging will then be cleaned, sanitised and put back into the cycle (source: Circular).
The trial is taking place at five restaurants in Ipswich and Newmarket and its success will be closely monitored by Burger King. It’s all in an effort to help Burger King reach its goal of eliminating single-use plastic within its restaurants by 2025.
DyeCoo – The Netherlands
The fashion industry is guilty of producing 10% of all humanity’s carbon emissions and is the second largest consumer of the world’s water supply (source: Insider). Not only do we as consumers produce 206.456 tonnes of textile waste per year in the UK (source: Circular), but fashion companies also produce huge amounts of toxic waste through the chemicals used in the dying process.
Dutch company DyeCoo hopes to turn this around and create a circular economy for fashion with its innovative manufacturing solution. It uses highly pressurised “supercritical” carbon dioxide coupled with dye to create vibrant colours in clothing. The process uses no water and no chemicals other than the dye itself, and what’s more, the carbon dioxide evaporates and is recycled and reused again. By not using water, the cloth does not need to dry, meaning the process takes half the time and uses less energy (source: DyeCoo).
DyeCoo’s process has already caught the eyes of big industry players as it has secured partnerships with Nike and IKEA. Cool right?
Close the Loop – Australia
Australians could be driving on soft plastic and toner waste thanks to a great initiative created by Close the Loop! In 2018, the sustainability solutions company unveiled a new manufacturing line in Melbourne which converts 200,000 tonnes of soft plastic and toner waste into an asphalt additive to create road surfaces.
Annually, Australia generates 300,000 tonnes of this type of waste and this facility has the potential to divert two thirds of that away from landfill. It means that per every two kilometre of two-lane road, Australians could be driving on the equivalent of 530,000 recycled plastic bags, 168,000 glass bottles and 12,000 recycled toner cartridges (source: Waste Management Review).
It’s incredible the potential our waste has to create new products, and this is what is so fascinating about the circular economy system. We don’t have to constantly keep using vital energy and producing carbon emissions to create products from scratch. Let’s use what is already in the system to save our planet and protect it for future generations.
How is DCW contributing to a circular economy?
It’s positive to see that companies from across the globe are inventing new ways in which to contribute to a more circular economy, and we’re doing our bit right here in the South West of England.
Firstly, DCW customers have the opportunity to participate in our Circular Economy Scheme. Launched in 2020, the scheme asks customers to separate their waste at the source into separate sacks. It improves the quality of recycling, eliminates waste and promotes the continual use of resources. Taking this approach can increase our recycling rate by up to 94%.
We use the waste to create new products too. The plastic waste we collect from South West businesses at our specialist plastics reprocessing facility, DCW Polymers, goes into the making of Storm Board, a weatherproof alternative to plywood. Recycled plastic is also used in the making of our outdoor furniture range.
Our benches, dining sets, chairs, coffee tables, fencing, decking and dog agility equipment is all made out of plastic waste. This weatherproof, long-lasting alternative to timber has been a hit with our customers since we launched the range in 2021 as it’s maintenance free and will not rot, splinter or ever require painting or treating. Click here to find out more about the range.
Not only do we contribute to a circular economy, but we have raised over £11,000 for charitable causes too. Our annual fundraising scheme, Recycle & Raise, asks the public to donate clean plastic tubs and bottle tops which get recycled. Before we launched our furniture range, the material got sold back to the manufacturing industry to raise funds for charity but now, the material goes into the making of the recycled furniture range. This allows us to raise even more vital funds for charity than selling to the industry. You can read more on our 2021/22 Recycle & Raise scheme here.
We hope you enjoyed discovering three circular economy schemes from around the world which are helping to save the planet. If you would like to find out how DCW can help your business become more sustainable and contribute to our local circular economy, contact our team today on 01392 361300 or email email@example.com.