- Business Insider UK spoke to Teresa Domenech, co-director of Circle, UCL’s Circular Economy lab.
- Domenech told us the ways in which a Circular Economy could prevent waste and change the way we think about design.
- She believes that a 100% Circular Economy is achievable.
Read the full transcript below:
Teresa Domenech: Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to really own a car, own a house, or own a phone. What if we just use what we need in the way we need it and then when we no longer need it or when we need something else we just change it easily.
Hello, my name is Teresa Domenech, I work at UCL university college London and I am co-director of UCL’s Circular Economy lab.
The economy that we have right now is based around taking resources, consuming them and then disposing them as waste. There are two main problems to the Linear Economy, one problem is the amount of the volume of resources that are consumed and the energy that is used to transform those resources into products.
The other problem is at the other end is the amount of waste that this produces. The idea of the Circular Economy is to try to address those issues. First reduce the amount of resources that we extract from the earth and the other one is to use those resources more efficiently by creating closer loops that maintain those resources in the productive cycles for longer, rather than wasting them.
A mobile phone is something that we have. Everyone has one or several phones and we use it every day all the time, if we look at a mobile phone within the linear economy, the way it works is you just buy a new phone, you use it for a period of time and that period of time is getting shorter and shorter and then you change it because you want to upgrade to a new model.
But actually to produce that phone you have extracted tonnes and tonnes of materials. They are very difficult to extract and they are actually creating a number of environmental issues along the way.
If we look at the Circular Economy we will see a completely different system. First of all, we wouldn’t necessarily have to buy a phone, we could lease a phone from a manufacturer. That phone will have been designed in a way that can be easily repaired and upgraded so you don’t need to actually change your mobile phone just because you cannot upgrade it anymore.
So you could easily upgrade to new technology using your existing phone. It doesn’t make sense that we have a phone that we cannot open and we cannot repair.
Right now products are not really designed to be reused and manufactured, they are designed to be used and then disposed of, so we need to rethink how we design products.
We will design products differently if we knew that those products were going to come back to us as manufacturers and we could extract value from them and create new products from them. So I think rethinking the whole design system is really important, it’s really key.
Produced by Charlie Floyd
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