What is the Circular Economy?

The Circular Economy is a model for how products and services can change us from ‘consumers’ to being users within a system that makes best use of our limited resources.

Since the industrial revolution we have operated mostly on a ‘linear economy’ of making things, using them and disposing of them when they are no longer ‘fit for purpose’ to a system designed with reuse and treating products and services in a whole new way.  Waste then becomes ‘resources’.

LEAP are involved in a few small local projects that are examples of services that can be seen as part of a circular economy.

LEAP EnergyBusiness Energy Switch service is part of a Social Enterprise model that reduces businesses costs for Gas and Electricity and reinvests the money back into the project to then help reduce energy consumption in local domestics properties, thus cutting carbon emissions, saving people money and tackling aspects of fuel poverty.   This is an example of a circular process within a service business where the ‘loop’ or cycles can be closed and lessened over a long period of time where for example in the long term we would help businesses to reduce their impact on the environment through such a model.

LEAP Car Club – community ‘more than profit’ social enterprise that offers ‘pay-as-you-go’ car hire for its members.  This provides a shared resource of low emissions vehicles to hire as and when needed it without individual members paying for insurance, servicing, MOT, road tax, maintenance and cleaning… for example 50 members of the local community live across 3 rural villages and have access to 4 fuel efficient vehicles.  Not one person within the membership owns the vehicles, but all share in the resources.  This reduces car ownership by around 30% within the membership as people do not need a second car in the household or even a first car where it is suitable.

Here is a video about LEAP Car Club that tells you a bit more about how it works.

A great place to learn more about the Circular Economy and how it relates to the future of business, commerce and the third sector is Ellen MacArthur Foundation.  Where you can find links for all sectors and all levels of learning on the Circular Economy.