May 20, 2024

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Understanding ‘Circular Economy’



A circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them while in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life.



And why does it matter?

Circular Economy:

  • Creates new opportunities for sustainable growth;
  • Reduces waste,
  • Drives greater resource productivity,
  • Renders our economy more competitive;
  • Positions us to better address emerging resource security/scarcity issues in the future, and;
  • Helps to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions, and overall reduces the environmental impacts of our production and consumption.
Principles of a circular economy

There are three primary principles associated with this transition to a circular economy according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation:
  1. Design out waste and pollution;
  2. Keep products and materials in use; and
  3. Regenerate natural systems
 
Source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation
 
What are we doing about the Circular Economy?

We have a plan for the future: Circular economy. Over the years, we have been working with the government, industries, SMEs and organizations across the country to put in place systems that guarantee that resources are used sustainably. Our work across diverse sectors, touching the areas of food, textiles, tea and coffee, textile, beverages, plastic packaging and many more. Over the past decade we have collaborated with over 54 industries and SMEs and dozens of institutions to streamline water and energy use, promote efficient use of resources, minimize – and where possible eliminate- waste, ensure high productivity, create green jobs and maximize profitability while mitigating the damage being inflicted on our planet.
We:
  • Assess the needs  and existing practices and, together with all our stakeholders, work to find solutions that are appropriate in every context
  • Cooperate and collaborate with all our stakeholders as we work out solutions to the current challenges. This, because we recognize that working solutions are not worked out in hiding, but rather through collaborative approaches with everyone;
  • Invest in education and awareness creation as we are well aware that system-wide changes can only occur when people understand the risks of keeping ‘the business-as-usual’ model, the benefits associated with a circular economies and the responsibilities that come with them. This is done through continued information dissemination through traditional and digital media, information notes, capacity building and face to face encounters; internship opportunities and public lectures.
  • Strategize through advocacy and advice, policy formulation and working with various organs of the government to put in place policies, strategies and plans that put environment sustainability at the heart of all development efforts;
  • Provide access to finance and technologies needed to help industries, SMEs and organizations to transition to cleaner processes and practices
 

In 2017, a film was made about our efforts to promote resources efficient and cleaner production in Rwanda. You can still watch the film.

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