“Come full circle” is an often used idiom to denote coming back to where you started from originally. The evolving concept of a Circular Economy is very similar. The advanced developed nations are trying to come back to where they were when they were poorer. The 5Rs – Reduce. Reuse. Refurbish. Repair. Recycle – are actions that we regularly took as a poorer country born out of shortage and the need to preserve. But the consumerism that we are witnessing across the world has made us lose sight of those behaviours which were second nature to us.
Abundance lulls us into a sense of disdain for the old and aspiration for the new. So we lease a car today and change it every three years, while your father lived with one car all his life. We use a paper tissue instead of a handkerchief. (An aside – Robert De Niro in the 2015 movie “Intern” says that a man should always carry a handkerchief because when he pulls it out to give it to a woman who breaks down crying, there is nothing more romantic – maybe laying down your jacket over a puddle on the road for the girl to walk beats that…anyway I am digressing!). We use disposables instead of reusables. We upgrade rather than repair. We consume more as a demonstration of success rather than reduce as an act of intelligent preservation. Our ability to pay for services from others makes us irresponsible in our personal behaviour – why segregate waste when someone else can be paid to do it? We like to flaunt the latest rather than refurbish the old. Why recycle when it’s cheaper to use something virgin?
We need not travel down the road that today’s developed nations traversed. We just have to go back to our roots. This blog is an attempt to appeal to the “big middle” and the “apathetic rich” to raise their awareness of the consequences of their actions in the immediate present and the legacy future that we will leave for our forthcoming generations.
“Come full circle” is therefore a clarion call not to travel the circumference but to step back to where we intelligently were.
Come join me in creating a revolution of responsible behavior. Spread the word. Walk the talk. Feel the pain of the less endowed.
An obvious question playing on your mind is what can I do to participate in the circular economy. Here are three random, simple things you can adopt from now (in no order of importance):
Start carrying a hanky. Female readers, today’s men do cry unlike the stoic, silent types of old.
The next time you are doing a takeout from a restaurant; carry your own boxes and cloth bag. Say no to plastic boxes. If you do end up taking the aluminium trays, please rinse, dry and send it for recycling.
Segregate the waste you generate into organic wet (e.g. vegetable and fruit peels, rotten leftovers), recyclable dry (e.g. paper and plastic packaging, cardboard boxes), and “yet-to-find a eco-friendly solution” rejects (e.g. sanitary waste, used diapers, inert materials like ceramic) and demand that your waste management service provider takes them to an appropriate destination for processing.
Toast to the new frontier – A Circular Economy. Lets conquer it together.
PS: Just did a little experiment. You can use a fresh portion of your handkerchief at least 12 times by just refolding! BTW I still carry a handkerchief – force of habit or acting responsibly?
PS PS: What can you expect in the future from stopping by here? Guest posts by experts in their field, sharing of good articles on the subject, my perspectives on policy and tactics on the ground, stories of people contributing to the cause etc.