Natural resources and humanity

In practice, the term circular economy refers to something old with a new appearance. Circular refers to sharing, recycling, energy efficiency and a transition away from throwawayism. Economy refers to an activity being economically viable. In other words, we need a cultural shift in which we increase recycling, remanufacturing and upcycling. Our entire industry and design system must change. Unless products are designed to be recyclable from the start, they are impossible to recycle. We live in a highly wasteful economy. The competitive assets of tomorrow include resource efficiency, reuse and recycling. In a circular economy, it is important that the design phase of a new product includes consideration of what will be done with the product once its intended use ends. The objective is to prolong the life of products and recover the materials used at the end of their lifecycle.
Luonnonvarat ja ihmiskunta
Photo: Suvi Laukkanen

As a society, we are facing a situation in which overconsumption has led to the consumption of virgin natural resources and the amount of waste produced getting out of hand. The objective of the existing economic and production system is to maximise profits. We must change this situation by moving away from linear production that uses natural resources to manufacture products that end up as waste after use.

In many ways, increasing amounts of waste, overconsumption, population growth, climate change and exceeding of the Earth’s carrying capacity are forcing societies to become more efficient and reduce their emissions. The circular economy has strong environmental and climate-related justifications, but it is also strongly linked to potential economic growth, creation of jobs, utilisation of digitalisation, private consumption and public procurement, among other things.

The different forms of the textile and fashion industry can be considered to include the different parts of the overall design and production process. According to the circular economy ideology, all activity across the production chain is aimed at a closed loop in which previously used natural resources are utilised in manufacturing new products. The aim of the circular economy is to combine two separate parts of the existing system into one.Recycling and waste management in their current form would be discontinued in favour of being merged into parts of the production chain.