April is Earth Month and people all over the globe recognize the occasion with earth-friendly activities, like cleaning up garbage or planting a tree.
It’s also an opportunity to create consciousness about how we impact Mother Nature, advocate for change, raise awareness about environmental issues, and learn what we can do to help.
The circular economy is one way we can make a difference in how we treat the planet and its people, and it’s worth understanding so we can make better purchasing decisions.
Here’s a look at the circular economy and why it matters.
What is the Circular Economy?
A circular economy refers to a way of producing goods that keeps the materials, products, and services in circulation for as long as possible. This is done by changing the design of materials and products, and even of business models and systems.
Production in a circular economy aims to eliminate waste by reducing the amount of material used, requiring less energy or resources to produce them, and recapturing waste as a resource to manufacture new products.
The three principles required for a change to a circular economy are:
- eliminating waste and pollution
- circulating products and materials
- the regeneration of nature
The circular economy therefore supports global challenges around climate change, loss of biodiversity, waste, and pollution.
How is it Different From a Traditional Economy?
Our more traditional production systems are known as linear economies, in which we gather or mine resources, make products, use them, and throw them away. This mode of production uses up finite raw materials and produces vast quantities of waste through production and disposal of products.
The circular economy is different. Rather than a model of mining-production-waste, it follows the European Parliament’s definition: “a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended.”
How Can A Circular Economy Make a Difference?
The biggest impact of a circular economy is through reduction of waste, which is good for the planet. The extraction and processing of raw materials impacts the environment, increases energy consumption and increases CO2 emissions. It creates waste with disposable products, too; by contrast, at the end of a product’s life in a circular economy, the materials used to make it are reused wherever possible.
The World Economic Forum reports that the European Union, for instance, produces more than 2.5 billion tonnes of waste a year. The United Nations’ International Resource Panel concludes that natural resource extraction and processing contributes to about half of all global greenhouse gas emissions.
There are also benefits to the populations that are involved in production in a circular economy.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency states that a circular economy can not only protect the environment but also elevate social justice. The EPA says:
“Sustainability from its foundation requires social equity. How we extract, use, and dispose of our resources can affect already vulnerable communities disproportionately.”
The EPA uses examples from the United States, in which under-served communities are burdened with negative environmental and health impacts of a linear economy: landfills and manufacturing and processing facilities are often located in close proximity to low-income communities.
In contrast, the goal of the EPA's circular economy is to reduce waste and toxic materials and reuse critical minerals, to create safe jobs and healthy communities.
How Does a Circular Economy Benefit Communities?
It’s easy to understand how this type of production can help the environment, by reducing waste and emissions and making better use of finite resources.
But it can also help the human ecosystem, as highlighted by the World Resources Institute, providing benefit to communities by:
- Reducing pollution to protect human health and biodiversity. Cleaner air, land and water benefits everyone.
- Boosting economies. For instance, less plastic waste in the ocean can benefit the fishing industry.
- Creating more and better jobs. Sustainable fashion, for example, would help millions of garment workers—mostly women—who suffer from poor working conditions to support the fast fashion industry.
How 10,000 Beekeepers Support a Circular Economy
What you buy makes a difference, by supporting businesses that operate in alignment with the circular economy and the goals of Earth Month.
At the African Bronze Honey / 10000 Beekeepers, our values and our products are in line with the goals of a circular economy: sustainable; fair trade; regenerative; good for the environment; and empowering local communities.
Our honey provides sustainable income for more than 10,000 beekeepers while also helping to preserve pristine forests in south-central Africa. It’s raw and unpasteurized, and its production sustains entire communities while employing environmentally-friendly regenerative harvesting practices. The forests are part of the production, instead of being used in a linear fashion by being cleared for mining, agriculture or logging.
Containing the highest concentrations of honey’s natural benefits and nutritional value, our honey is certified organic by EcoCert. You get pure, high-quality, ethically sourced honey without any pesticides or chemicals.
Our business practices also support the sustainable goals of a circular economy. We are a B Corp, which is a business that passes a rigorous process of evaluation, reviewing how we do business and ranking our performance. We have been named Best For The World Changemakers three years in a row. Our business is also proud to be a member of the Fair Trade Federation.
Choose the Earth
You can make a difference during Earth Month and all year long, by purchasing one of our wide selection of wild forest honey and honey-infused goods. We believe in food that restores the planet instead of damaging it, creates sustainable jobs for marginalized remote communities, and protects forests from deforestation. Bees are vital to our ecosystems, so we make honey that comes from healthy bees that are never exposed to insecticides.
Choose honey that’s a healthier alternative at an affordable price, or buy a gift pack to celebrate Earth Day with a friend – note, you can do this any day, you don’t have to wait for Earth Day to come around again! Try a candle or some lip balm. Wrap your food in our reusable organic beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap.What you choose does matter, so visit our store to find out more, or use our Store Locator to find a retailer near you.