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In the span of a single lifetime we have gone from the Wright Brothers to Mars Rovers; from Sears & Roebuck to 1 Click Shopping; and from a population of 2 billion to one of more than 8 billion. Our world today is hardly comparable to that of our grandparents' - yet the economic principles that distribute our wealth and resources have changed very little since the early 1900's.

The unprecedented success of 20th century capitalism created unimaginable growth, but it also left us with an economic model that destroys our planet's natural systems and exhausts our supply of natural resources. If we want to continue our success into the 21st century and beyond, we need to transition to an economy that serves the needs of modern society AND respects the natural limits of the planet.  MCW exists to facilitate this transition. 

Who We Are

Founders

Picture of Dean Yarsites: Founder of MCW

Dean Yarsites

Believe it or not I found my calling to the circular economy as a paint contractor.  Painting dorm buildings and new construction, we went through thousands of buckets every year, pretty much all of which were thrown away.  It was eye opening. If my relatively small company can make this much waste, how much more is  out there?

 

Armed with a business degree from James Madison, boosted by knowledge from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's Circular Pioneers program, and fueled by my passion for skiing, hiking and everything outdoors - I’m on a mission to end America's culture of waste.   

My Circular World is more than just a website.  It’s the foundation for a regenerative economic system that replenishes the planet instead of destroying it.

Picture of Dustin Zagars: co-founder of MCW

Dustin Zagars

Nature has become a giant playground for me. It doesn't matter if I'm in the mountains, ocean, rivers, or forest. I've discovered as long as I'm playing outside, I'm balanced, happy and healthy. Now I want to help make sure all people get to keep on playing outside after I'm gone.  

After crisscrossing the planet and working a wide variety of jobs in numerous industries, I feel like everything I've learned and experienced has led me to promoting a circular economy through My Circular World.

My mission is to help fuel our transformation into a more sustainable & circular way of living. I believe once our lifestyles mimic and harmonize with our understandings of Nature, we as individuals and a species will be able to play outside for as long as there is an outside.

Contributors 

Amie Williams

Amie earned her degree in Environmental Science and has worked as a marine biologist in many tropical places. However, she soon realised that in order to make a positive impact on the environment, you need to focus on the people that depend on it. This realisation prompted her to pursue a Masters degree in International Development, specialising in the environment and climate change. She wants to continue to educate and inspire others to make small, fundamental changes that will collectively yield a significant impact.

To "Throw Something Away" is a Myth . . .

Everything ends up somewhere. "Throwing it away" really just means moving it from one place to another.  Sometimes, things get "recycled". But more often than not they become part of an ever-growing stream of waste, and eventually end up in a landfill, an incinerator or an ocean.

Waste is a Human Conception...

It doesn't exist in the natural world because its never created. Through a series of elaborate material cycles that have been around for far longer than humans - every part of nature eventually becomes "food" for something else.

Why does waste matter?  Aside from the general unpleasantness of garbage, waste contributes to pollution and resource scarcity.  

Explore the life cycle of a leaf vs a plastic bottle. And see what kind of impact each of them has on their local ecosystems.  

The concept of waste didn't exist until we began combining natural resources in ways that make them difficult - if not impossible to be used by other parts of nature. Earth's ecosystems have been using and reusing the same resources for billions of years, but human-made products like plastic and electronics are not compatible with natural cycles.  So we end up with waste.

 Waste statistics 1960-2018

For the first 10,000 years of human dominion on Earth, the amount of waste created was inconsequential; and the type of waste we created could be easily assimilated back into nature. But the industrial revolution changed that.  With the advent of machines that can manifest human ingenuity at unprecedented levels - quantity quickly overtook quality as the standard for economic output.  The amount of waste created today is nearly incomprehensible (292 million tons per year from US households alone), and certainly unsustainable. 

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Source: US EPA - Click Image for More

Towards the end of the 20th century, the problems attributed to waste were becoming harder and harder to ignore.  Landfills were leaching poisonous chemicals, incinerators were spewing toxic gas, islands of garbage were forming in the oceans, and irreplaceable resources were being used up faster than anyone previously thought possible.   

In response to a mounting crisis - the "recycling bin" was introduced to accompany the trash can.

It was a step in the right direction - but not much more. Instead of designing products for cyclicity or incentivizing the recovery of valuable resources - we turned to the industry that collects, burns and buries our trash for profit.  We asked companies that have invested billions of dollars in the equipment and infrastructure needed to haul trash from point A to point B, to reduce the amount of trash that's hauled from point A to point B.  When you think about it, that's like asking McDonald's to make Americans eat less hamburgers.  

So it's no surprise that after 40 years of trying, the American recycling system still recovers only 35% of household waste. Most of which is down-cycled into inferior materials that are unable to be recycled again.  While recycling is absolutely necessary for a circular economy, the waste management industry gave us little more than a different colored trash can and a false sense of virtue when we asked them to recycle our waste.  

the down-cycle:            

When "recycling" results in materials that have lower quality and  less value than their original form.  Typically a result of poorly designed products that are difficult to recycle and inefficient systems of material recovery. 

the monstorous hybrid:     

Think of it like a ccoking...  you combine and manipulate a list of ingredients to make a delicious apple pie.  But if you don't eat the whole pie, you can't turn the leftovers back into the original ingredients.  The same logic applies to how most of our "stuff" is made.  Getting back to the original ingredients is nearly impossible, which leaves down cycling or disposal as the only options.    

But not all of the blame can be placed on waste management companies; as they only exist to treat the symptoms (trash), not address the problem (waste).  The greatest challenge we face with recycling our stuff is that hardly any of it was made in a way that makes it easy (never mind profitable) to recycle.  Adhesives, preservatives, dyes, contamination and mixed materials create monstrous hybrid materials that cannot be separated into their core components.

Eliminating waste is a complex issue that requires a comprehensive solution.

There is no silver bullet, but there is a way out of this mess.  The circular economy is the framework for a restorative economic system that can meet the needs of modern society without compromising the natural limits of the planet. Instead of deciding how to reuse stuff after it's been manufactured and consumed - reuse and recovery are built into products from the very beginning. 

Regeneration by Design...

Better design coupled with systems of sharing, reuse, refurbishment and recycling keep man-made, technical materials (that are used to make things like cell phones or blenders) in endless cycles of use; while biological materials like wood or cotton are safely returned to naturally occurring material cycles of the planet's ecosystem.

Take a deeper look at the schools of thought behind the circular economy...

Just like Nature, everything becomes "food" for something else. 

In a circular economy, the relationship between company and consumer is more of a partnership than a transaction. A perfectly designed product is no better than a monstrous hybrid if it ends up in the trash can; and the perfect circular system is useless if no one's buying the products that make it up. 

And so we have... 

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MCW is a consumer resource for the circular economy.  In short, it connects shoppers with everyday products that are “designed” for circularity; and provides resources that enable them to effectively recycle, reuse, resell, repair or return stuff that is no longer useful.  It is composed of two separate but interconnected branches. 

BeCircular is the other side of the equation.  While the CPC is designed to help shoppers buy stuff built for the circular economy, BeCircular was created to help them know what to do when that stuff is no longer useful to them; ideally in a way that returns some kind of value to them. BeCircular is organized into the same categories at the CPC.  

  • For the categories with products the continue to exist after their useful life cycle - users are given circular end of life options for keeping, or getting rid of specific types of items.  

  • For categories with products that get "used up" after they're purchased; users are provided with general knowledge for  types of packaging & composting related to the specific items in the category.   

The CPC is an online catalog of companies that sell everyday consumer products made for the circular economy.  More specifically, companies that:

  • Take back and recycle the types of products they make

  • Offer resale platforms or buyback programs for the products they sell

  • Enable repairs through replacement parts, instructions or professional services

  • Sell products that can be easily broken down into core materials and recycled or composted

  • Sell products that are durable enough to survive multiple use cycles

  • Minimize the use of virgin materials by using recycled content and/or renewable resources

  • Decrease the size of and/or need for packaging of their products 

Circular Products Catalog

BeCircular

Contact

Join us today, by taking your first step into the new circular world. 

Contact Us

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