The World Economic Forum (WEC) have highlighted that our ‘take-make-dispose’ approach to production and consumption is leading to the ever-growing waste of plastics, food, textiles, digital and electronic devices and appliances. This growing mountain of waste is having an increasing impact on human health and the environment. One approach to reducing this waste and to supporting a more responsible and sustainable use of natural resources is the circular model approach. This model involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, upcycling and recycling existing products, devices and materials for as long as possible.
The WEC reports that in 2019 alone, “over 92 billion tonnes of materials were extracted and processed, contributing to about half of all global CO2 emissions”. The circular economy promotes the elimination of this waste. Across Dundee there are various circular economy-linked projects aiming to reduce waste such as Transition Dundee’s Wardrobe and Community Fridge. There is also Tayside Reusers, which estimates it has already saved 2,138 tons of CO2, the equivalent of 377,053 car journeys through the recycling of household items.
There are elements of a circular economy emerging at the University. The most notable example is the Reuse Shop which has been running for many years. The School of Art and Design has also started developing more sustainable approaches to the use and reuse of art materials.
More recently the Create Space in the Library has established a loan service for equipment such as sewing machines to support the repair and making of clothing.
How could the Create Space and its associated resources help to foster the development of circular economy initiatives on the University Campus. Initiatives that have the potential to reduce waste and simultaneously promote well-being and build our community?