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Every year used tires account for 2 percent of waste in the US; the average Briton throws out 44 to 55lbs of e-waste and approximately 66lbs of food is discarded per person in France. This is only a slice of our current “take—make—waste" system.
As dreadful as it sounds, there is a solution. Have you heard of the circular economy?
A circular economy encourages us to rethink ownership and the way we produce and deliver goods and services. It aims to shift our economic dependence on non-renewable resources (fossil fuels, natural gas, nuclear energy…) to renewable ones, (wind, solar power, geothermal energy, biofuels...) while designing a zero-waste system.
A circular system builds economic, natural, and social capital by creating a renewable, three-step cycle:
We can redesign the way our economy works and make products that are “made to be made again".
This model allows manufacturers, consumers and service providers to extend the life of materials and technology; even food. In fact, it's already happening.
And, you might be surprised to learn that location technology can help us adopt a more renewable system. Here's how.
Realizing a more sustainable economy might mean never owning our phones, washing machines or cars; we just borrow them from the manufacturers.
A circular economy includes designing goods to go back to the fabricators after use. I.E.: once your car has reached maximum potential the used metal, plastics, oil, glass, engine, tires and more can be recycled into new materials and products. When the new goods are transported using renewable energy like automated electric trucks equipped with HERE's Fleet Telematics it makes a complete and renewable cycle.
And it's working.
As of 2013, Ford's "Core Recovery Program" prevented 120 million pounds of car parts from reaching the dump.
Companies like Uber, Peerby and Airbnb started a sharing-economy that supports sustainability. By sharing cars, housing and objects, more people benefit from a limited supply of goods, save money and reduce waste.
Kitchen shares around the world are dedicated to promoting sustainability, equity and self-sufficiency while building community.
Location based services like HERE's Maps, Routing and Fleet Management technologies are crucial to the efficiency and success of these initiatives. Location based services lets users easily locate car-shares, housing or slow-cookers, avoid high traffic streets, save gas and maximize fleet efficiency via tools that operate in real-time.
Food waste decomposes in landfills and creates greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change. But in a circular economy, inedible food becomes a source of energy.
Coffee isn't the only reusable food: fruit and vegetable pulp from commercial juicers make healthy snacks and bread ends make great beer.
Coffee logs reduce the amount of grounds in landfills and cut disposal costs for companies. If coffee grounds are sent via automated, electric vehicles equipped with advanced mapping and routing tools, companies will also save on gas and avoid high-emission traffic jams.
The move to a circular economy started by substituting physical services with online equivalents, reducing the need for materials and manufacturing processes. For example, most people choose online music over records or discs thanks to iTunes and Spotify.
In addition to shifting our perspectives and adopting more circular consumption habits, location-based services can provide accurate information on the availability, location and condition of products. They can fuel an efficient goods and services “metabolism", minimize waste, promote a longer product life and reduce transaction costs.