• Lucas Borja

Together We Are Circular

A circular economy begins with the very straightforward purpose of avoiding waste. This is achieved not only at the production stage, where the waste of energy, material resources and labour hours is a constant challenge, a circular economy also considers waste at the logistics and commercialisation stage of finished products as well as their use and disposal by consumers. This means a circular economy takes into account the entire system in which it operates by implementing Systems Thinking.

Repurposing products is one of the many tools of circularity.

To implement Systems Thinking one must realise that a single actor or sector cannot take on the entire task of transitioning to a circular economy. Both the public and private sector must align to circular policies and directives, while the production of raw materials needs to be aligned to the use and disposal of consumer goods. What this means is that it is not possible for a producer, maker or brand to claim to be "circular" on its own while it operates within the framework of taking resources, making products and wasting consumer goods that is our current linear economic system.

While thinking long and hard about our wasteful linear economy we realised that the goods made to be marketed today lose value the minute they land in consumers' hands. Brands, makers and retailers purposely carry out actions to devalue purchased goods, they do this through sales (think of the 50% price reduction for a product for which you paid full price) or through manufacturing iterations with cosmetic or negligible improvements that intend to make consumers feel like the version of the product they own is "out of date". It's as if the products we make and sell begin to be "unmade" when used by consumers; a branded product's value fades away pushing it closer towards the category of "consumer waste".

Consumer goods that are in perfect condition are being wasted (together with all the energy, material resources and labour hours that their making entailed), so we see an opportunity in this "unmaking", an opportunity to create new business models based on maintaining the value of consumer goods while encouraging the production of long-lasting products, products that can be repaired and can continue to be (re)used for as long as their material characteristics allow. This is how the idea for UNMAKERY has materialised.

The idea is incredibly simple: everything bought on UNMAKERY can be resold in our shop.

If a circular economy begins with the purpose of avoiding waste then the design of a product is a natural starting point to achieve a waste-free economy. Our hope is that as we transition towards circularity we will see a shift in the way we design consumer goods so that decisions about materials, manufacturing, commercialisation and disposal align with the principles of product longevity. This is our hope for the future, but we need to act now.

We are launching UNMAKERY to support the transition to a circular economy at the (re)use stage of consumer goods. We are creating a circular shop that is committed to maintaining the value of goods alive, and we are doing it in a way that benefits brands, makers, retailers and consumers at the same time. The idea is incredibly simple: everything bought on UNMAKERY can be resold in our shop. We are building on top of this simple idea to make sure that consumers have the chance of passing on valuable goods to our customers, we want this to be their first choice before thinking about disposing of perfectly useful products. We ensure that the brands, makers and retailers that partner with us in this transition benefit together with UNMAKERY of all the commercial potential a circular economy offers (click here and sign up to our circular shop).

This is a simple beginning, but we see a lot more opportunities when we think about the entire system. Unmaking can be present anywhere, it can be present at the point where we start to think about making something new, at the point where we are taking it apart to repurpose or recycle its materials, or in between where the waste of one process becomes the raw material of another. But UNMAKERY, the online shop, won't represent everything in circularity, it is only as circular as the system in which it operates, therefore our commitment is to grow our partnerships so that when it comes to the way goods are offered, accessed and consumed we are contributing to a new circular economy, together with everyone else.

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