The circular economy is « a generic term for an industrial economy that is, by design or intention, restorative and in which materials flows are of two types, biological nutrients, designed to re-enter the biosphere safely, and technical nutrients, which are designed to circulate at high quality without entering the biosphere.
Here is a definition of the circular economy according to Ellen Macarthur – the retired yachtswoman who held the record for fastest solo trip around the world! – The circular economy is « a generic term for an industrial economy that is, by design or intention, restorative and in which materials flows are of two types, biological nutrients, designed to re-enter the biosphere safely, and technical nutrients, which are designed to circulate at high quality without entering the biosphere. »
TAFISA: Quebec’s example of a company modeled on the circular economy
Particleboard made without cutting a single tree, are the staple of TAFISA. Wood fibers are collected from recycling centers and used, as an input, to make the particleboards. According to TAFISA, “Particleboard uses wood fiber that would otherwise be discarded as waste, held together with synthetic resin “binders.” Particleboard has been the preferred core material for residential and commercial cabinetry and fixtures since its introduction over 40 years ago, and is today’s most stable, economical and resource-efficient substrate for furniture, millwork, and countertops.”
By recovering old furniture and reusing that furniture to extend the product’s life, TAFISA is, in effect, reducing landfill and completing the cycle of the circular economy. Second Cycle offers the service of product recovery as a partner in TAFISA’s complete product recycling, reusing, redesigning chain. Not only are old furniture products reused and recycled, but, because the cycle is almost endless, the landfill no longer needs to be part of the equation at all!
In this example, the cycle of reusing materials allows the reduction of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) when compared to the traditional industrial methods used to make this product. This process avoids dumping reusable products in a landfill and maximizes resource consumption of carbon-rich products.
The “cradle-to-cradle” cycle is exemplified in the reusing of materials, the extended life of natural resources, the reduction of costs of primary resources, the reduction of input costs and the reduction in GHGs which can be coined as carbon credits. These carbon credits can be then sold on voluntary markets. Carbon credits become a way to positively stimulate this economic process and encourage changing consumer attitudes and production practices. Which all strengthens the circular economy.
Martin Clermont, CEO of Will Solutions