Tomato skin waste as part of the raw materials in car parts. Scrap tires as furniture or playground accessories. Food and packaging waste converted into power. Or lost fishing nets recycled into nylon for carpets.
Companies around the world are thinking about, experimenting with and benefiting from their own and others’ waste as a material input, a process widely referred to as a circular economy model. In some cases, it is regulators who are mandating more reuse, repair, remanufacturing and recycling; in others, companies want to operate sustainably and be acknowledged for it.
No matter what the driving force, many companies have understood that the “take, make, waste” principles of linear production and consumption put too much pressure on the world’s resources and make their own supply chains risky. They are looking to circular economy models for ways to transform waste into raw materials, energy – and new business models.