Let’s start at the beginning. Traditional production processes follow what is known as a linear model, or the linear economy. This is “take, make, use, and dispose”. You take resources and raw materials, make something out of them, use the product for a finite period of time, and dispose of it when it reaches the end of its lifecycle - or when it’s been taking up too much space in your apartment.
The Earth takes almost 1.5 years to regenerate what we use in a year. Yet, just about 5% of the remaining value of material goods is recaptured and used when we dispose of the products.
You see where the problem is, right?
A circular model, in contrast, encourages reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling to create a closed-loop system, minimizing the use of resource inputs and the creation of waste, pollution and carbon emissions. By using things for longer, we also improve the productivity of resources involved in its manufacturing.
In short, we take less, and dispose of less - and it makes things cheaper and more eco-friendly for everyone. What’s not to love?
You might have even participated in the circular economy without even realizing it. Have you ever rented a tuxedo? Shopped at a vintage store? Or bought a refurbished good (maybe a sustainably-vitalized Xiaomi 1S)? These, among others, are products of a circular model and you earn a gold star from us for supporting circular institutions.
The linear economy promotes extraction and consumption. It can even be argued that one of the most tragic innovations of the mass-production industry has been the ability to produce things that weren’t meant to last in the first place. You’ve no doubt heard an older relative complain about how “they don’t make em like this anymore”, pointing to a 50-year-old record player as you clutch your hand tighter to hide the cracked screen of the fourth phone you’ve bought this year.
Beyond this, the circular economy aligns with many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including SDGs 7 on energy, 8 on economic growth, 11 on sustainable cities, 12 on responsible consumption and production, 13 on climate change, 14 on oceans, and 15 on life on land. On the EU level the circular economy action plan is a featured element of the European Green Deal to become the world’s first climate neutral bloc by 2050.
Achieving carbon neutrality at such a scale in today’s age is ambitious, but the circular model’s role in the transition to such a goal may be more significant than one would think. Currently, our world economy is 9.1% circular - demonstrating a very large circularity gap and an opportunity to increase this value. This number is significantly increased by closing loops on a linear model, through methods such as recycling, waste valorization, or increasing the useable lifecycle of the product in question.
Determining the end of a product’s lifecycle is also an exercise in subjectivity. Is it when it won’t turn on? When it breaks? When a new model comes out? The lives of consumer goods aren’t organic in the way that when one is over, it’s necessarily over over. Repairs and maintenance services have been around since well before the industrial revolution, keeping products alive for as long as possible and the circular economy has further emphasized its importance to not only the current owner of a product, but the next one of the same - and the one after that.
That’s not disposal, it’s just reallocation. And at rhyde, we can get behind that.
We work hard to make available to you professionally refurbished scooters that drive as good, or even better, than the day they came out of the factory - making your commute not only zero emission, but also a big step towards carbon neutrality in the industry through our circular approach.