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Consumerism Vs. The Circular Economy: Why Zero Waste Will Win

As of 2020, there are nearly 7.8 billion people on earth. Additionally, the EPA states that American’s generate 4.5 pounds of waste per day. To produce all of this waste, we currently live in a cycle where we constantly buy new products, throw them in a trash can when we are done, and then repeat the cycle by buying new products.

The majority of the 4.5 pounds of waste that is generated comes from food and beverages, but online shopping and retail stores, in general, are not helping the cause.

Several companies are doing their part to help eliminate trash. Starbucks for instance, claims to reduce waste associated with its business by increasing recycling and promoting usability.

Today, most of the trash that is generated goes straight to a landfill. Years ago, a landfill was an acceptable method of getting rid of trash, but as our population quickly rises and more and more trash is created, we are running out of space in and landfills are beginning to have a negative effect on the environment. Landfills produce harmful toxins that are released into the atmosphere and pollute the air and water on earth. As we run out of space in landfills, trash is ending up in the ocean and scattered throughout the earth.

So, what can retailers do to eliminate waste? There are two ways: Create a circular economy or commit to zero waste. Today we are here to talk about both, and which method is the most effective.

The Circular Economy: How it Works

With a circular economy we reuse, renew, and recycle items to minimize the use of resources. Here’s how it works in a circular economy:

More renewable natural resources

Bamboo and lumber are considered a renewable natural resource, and in a circular economy, these items are used until they can absolutely no longer be used. Once a resource makes it to its end-life, it could be fed back into the cycle.

Borrow- don’t buy

A circular economy promotes rental services rather than purchasing. A library is a primary example of how this works because, rather than buying books and getting rid of them, a library allows you to use the book and then return it as a way to prevent books from going to waste.

Get rid of gifts

In a circular economy, services and activities are considered better gifts rather than a tangible item. In a circular economy, you would gift someone a ticket to concerts, theaters, etc., rather than giving them a product as a gift.

Don’t take part in packaging

To minimize waste, a circular economy avoids packaging at all costs. This means consumers bring in their own containers when they purchase items.

Zero Waste: How it Works

Another way to reduce waste is to not create any waste at all. We know what you’re thinking; Why didn’t I think of that? You might be wondering how it is even possible to generate no waste at all. While it requires a bit of change, we’re here to tell you that it is possible, and zero waste is an extremely effective method to reduce waste. Here’s how it works:

No plastic

I think we can all agree that plastic packaging is beginning to seem like a thing of the past and it should be. There really is no benefit to plastic packaging. Instead, consider using paper bags and recycled glass containers that can continue to be recycled and used again.

Buying quality items

Whereas a circular economy promotes renting and borrowing items, a zero-waste mindset uses quality items that can be reused again and again so that it is kept out of the trash. When purchasing items for your retail store, consider what products are made with to ensure the product is built to last. A product should also be versatile and provide the owner with tons of usage out of the product.

Pay attention to all the items you are using

As a retailer, not only should you pay attention to the items you are offering in-store, but you should also pay attention to the items you use on a daily basis. Plastic clothes hangers, for instance, are an item that ends up in landfills and can take up to 1,000 years to break down. Rather than using plastic, consider a hanger that is made out of metal or something else that can be recycled and reused.

If you offer online shipping, consider the items you are using for shipping. Rather than using plastic bags and plastic wrap, consider using paper products or another product that can be recycled and reused.

Zero Waste or A Circular Economy- Which is Best?

Do you want to do your part as a retailer to reduce waste? You might be wondering which method is better, a circular economy, or zero waste. While a circular economy might sound good, it is not as easily achievable as zero waste.

With a zero-waste mindset, waste is more likely to be kept out of the trash because it is a high-quality product that can continue to be used for years. Reusability also means higher margins and profits for companies who can effectively design their products to waste as little as possible.

Jordan Alliance Group: Transforming Retailers To A Zero Waste Mindset

The good news is, as a retailer, you have the opportunity to make the world a better, healthier place to live in. Committing to zero waste will be a bit of a challenge because you will have to search for the right products and you will have to connect with manufacturers who also prioritize zero waste, but that is why our team at Jordan Alliance Group is here to help.

Jordan Alliance Group is here to help you contribute to zero waste. Together, we can make a difference. Contact our team for a free consultation and let’s get started.

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