Episode 4: Other business models in the circular economy


As I saw in the previous episode, principles of the circular economy are beginning to be integrated into increasingly diverse business models. Studies in recent years have sought to group the directions in which companies deliver innovation in resource and waste management. Here are the five circular business models that have been identified:

  1. Circular suppliers - a particularly relevant model in industries that need very scarce resources and raw materials; thus, these resources are replaced with 100% renewable, recyclable or biodegradable materials.
  2. Resource recovery - a model that ensures the elimination of material losses and maximizes the value of the product, through return flows of materials and materials.
  3. Extending the life of products - allows companies to extend the life of a product by repairing, remanufacturing or remarketing.
  4. Sharing platform - which we talked about before, are business models that allow users to collaborate and share the assets already owned.
  5. The product as a service - is a model that can replace the classic "buy and hold" model. Thus, a product can be used by one or more people, on the principle "rent and use".

In this episode, we will look at some businesses that apply models resource recovery (Disney and Remesh) and extending the life of a product (Borderless Workshops).

Even the classics know how to apply CHANGE.
The Walt Disney Company


The Walt Disney Company is a giant, from any perspective you choose to look. It is a huge company with thousands of employees and a turnover that exceeded 50 billion USD in 2015. You would expect such a large and complex company to have a hard time coping with the need for change, precisely because of inertia. A ship has a hard time changing course, it's much easier with a boat. And yet!

One of the goals of sustainability and responsibility that Disney has set itself is to reach, by 2020, to avoid dumping 60% of the waste generated in the company and its amusement parks. At the end of 2014, the figure reported by the company was 48%.

At Walt Diney World Resort, all food waste from its restaurants - including fats, cooking oils or leftovers - is sent to an anaerobic digestion unit. Thus, organic waste is transformed into biogas, used to generate electricity, which is then delivered to Central Florida - including Disney restaurants and theme parks! Here, therefore, is a functional model for recovering and capitalizing on resources.

The circular economy in Romania.
Recovery of resources and extension of the life of products,
through No Borders Workshops

For those who look carefully, change occurs everywhere. In Romania there are many people and organizations that have joined and integrated, as much as possible, the principles of the circular economy. This is also the case No Borders Workshops, an organization that, for more than 6 years, has been developing various types of social business in Romania. Two of these businesses - a IT equipment reconditioning workshop, mostly computers and laptops, and remesh, a workshop that produces a brand responsible for bags and leather goods and home deco - are models that fit into the paradigm of the circular economy.

Refurbished computers,
jobs and equal opportunities


In IT reconditioning workshop disadvantaged people work, who are helped to learn a new profession and to reintegrate socially. In addition to this solidarity benefit, the AFF workshop restores the use of hundreds of computers and laptops, thus extending their lifespan. Many of these are offered to schools or libraries in the village, to ensure equal opportunities for education for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Part of the reconditioned equipment is sold to economically support the workshop activity.

Chic bags and accessories,
from recycled meshes


Gentile and products remesh they are made of obsolete advertising meshes. Tons of meshes end up in the landfill, after serving the advertising purpose for which they were created. remesh recovers some of these materials, reconditions them and gives them a new life in the form of bags, pens, wallets, duvets or conference folders. It is gratifying to learn that thousands of such products are in demand and sold, and this means that people are beginning to understand. I understand that micro-gestures matter, that any choice contributes to the way humanity will shape its future.

We invite you to do this little filtering exercise when you are faced with the next situation in which you have to make a decision. Do I need a new item? What do I do with what I already have? What do I do with used or unwanted items? Much depends on your answer. Next time!