So let’s Define our “Circular” Economy like a “Spiral” Economy.
If you look at this picture one more time (the circle with just one loop).
This is not a circular “economy”! It is a circular process! Or rather a circular step in an otherwise linear process.
An “economy” is something other than a single process. It is an immeasurable high number of processes that are dynamically intertwined with each other to an unbelievable degree of complexity! There is change all the time.
In a dynamic environment how to make sure that one process will be able to close a loop? You have to make it fit to connect to as many other processes as possible – so it get’s at least likely an actual loop is realized! The more connection options a process has the more likely it is that a connection can be found. If your output is “oxygen” you will be fine.
In other words: Your processes and systems need to be designed in a way that their outputs are useful for many other and different processes and systems. Or in even other words:
“… in order to let the possibilities for as many other systems grow – short and long term (biological and technical systems).”
Because our economy is dynamic and complex this is the only viable strategy if you really want to make circles happen. And this is basically the same as our vision/idea of beauty
And one strategy to make it likely that your process finds another one to connect is not to destroy other processes or systems – because this would undermine unexpected use(r)s. Add. Don’t take away.
And another strategy is of course Open Source – as it provides the information necessary to find a process and the legal opportunity to use it.
Ok. Well. Then let’s put all of this into our definition. And add open source right there. And make sure we are talking about a global circular economy. If we spin the definition like this it could turn out like this:
A Circular Economy is an economy where systems are designed in order to let the possibilities for as many other systems grow as possible – short and long term (biological and technical systems).
To reach this goal it favors and explores – where it makes sense to reach it – concepts, techniques and strategies like:
- circular flows of resources, products and processes;
- fair and free environments for people to live and work;
- local and short feedback loops;
- use of standards;
- use of (non-toxic, clean, nourishing and healthy) materials that are either technically recyclable or biodegrade;
products and processes designed for
- maintenance and repair and
- dis- and reassembly,
- (also high value);
- (Low carbon and low entropy approaches;)
open source collaboration (or transparency).
The list is something to debate and the structure and language needs to be polished up, yes.
But how about the general spin? Could it work? Let people have this understanding when they think about “Circular Economy”.
What do you think?
(sorry there is a tiny more.)
A part of my brain of course still thinks about an alternative word for “circular”. I have another idea. I don’t advocate for it (it did not feel like a Eureka moment). But I still want to share it – because it is interesting!
The best replacement word I found so far is “Pre-Use” – The Pre-Use Economy. This is probably why I am so enthusiastic about the term ever since I heard it. It expresses the whole idea that you should have at least one other idea about an alternative future “use” of something before you start using it that is not throw it into the garbage. Pre-Use invites complexity and to think ahead and to think about others (because why should you be the one doing the next use?) It is a basic operation that can be spread to everything: You pre-use the planet and nature!
And what makes it so interesting: If everyone would include this BASIC OPERATION on a daily bases – for example in a shape like:
Don’t do anything before you don’t have at least 3 positive ideas about what happens afterwards with it.
– a circular economy would emerge very quickly.°
° The techniques and tools from the definition above would help to discover these 3 positive uses.
(And btw. IPO Tables could be a great tool to make this 3 positive ideas visible.)