The linear economic model: extract – manufacture – consume – throw away is not environmentally friendly, is very resource and energy hungry and is currently showing its limitations.
This reality has led to the birth of the circular economy. The idea? Increase the efficiency of resource use and decrease environmental impacts while improving human well-being.
This alternative economic system provides a promising way forward to meet current economic, social and environmental challenges. Which is why the Brussels-Capital Region implemented the Regional Circular Economy Programme (RCEP).
Launched in March 2016, the plan comprises 111 measures and targets three major objectives to which hub.brussels contributes actively:
- Transform environmental objectives into economic opportunities.
- Anchor the economy in Brussels.
- Contribute to job creation.
What is the circular economy?
The circular economy is, as defined by the RCEP, an economic exchange and production system which, at every stage of the life cycle of products (goods and services) is intended to increase the efficiency of resource use and decrease the impact on the environment while increasing the well-being of people.”
What is a circular company?
To determine whether a company is circular, you have to look at its business model. At circlemade.brussels, we have developed 4 categories of circular economy business models. A company is said to be circular if it has at least one of these business models. However, several models may be applied to it.
Here are the 4 models:
- Less is More – using less resources
This business model allows the company to use less resources (materials, water and energy) to generate the same or a wider range of products or services to be offered to its customers. This may be achieved through the ecodesign approach, using renewable resources.
- Make it Last – prolonging the service life of resources
The company makes an offer that allows the service life of the resources used to be prolonged, be it a product or an associated service (improved technical characteristics, reparability, preventive maintenance, etc.).
- Use better – using resources better
The company develops an offer which allows resources to be used better through sharing, making the product available without transferring its ownership, using the product for several purposes, etc.
- Close the Loop – reusing resources
The company offers products that allow resources to be used several times. This may be in the same cycle (i.e. the same value chain: reuse, remanufacturing, recycling for the same use) or in a different cycle (i.e. different value chain and use: up and downcycling, recycling for a different use as a result of changes in material quality).
The circular economy: examples of companies
Local production of circular jackets
In 2017, hub.brussels provided support to a group of companies active in the textile industry via its sustainable department to implement a multi-player circular economy project.
The project, in the form of an innovative public call for projects, consisted in the local production of 300 jackets based on circular economy principles, to highlight the launch of the new Brussels Business Support Agency hub.brussels.
The specificity of the call? The requirement to work using short circuit textiles from local sources made with second-hand fabrics, fabric remnants and “textile waste”.
ISATIÓ won the bid and met the challenge: with respect to supply, all of the materials used to produce the jackets were fabric samples and the ends of bolts from the textile industry. The entire production cycle was completed using a very short circuit: design in Etterbeek, production in Brussels-City, Molenbeek and Anderlecht and delivery via bicycle couriers.
The project generated savings of:
- 128 kg of textiles;
- About 57 kg of fertilisers and pesticides;
- 200 m3 of water;
- Over 5 T of CO2;
- 9,000 KWh of electricity.
In addition, it contributed to the creation of two new sewing workshops and two jobs and the socio-professional reintegration of two jobseekers with little experience.
Coucou provides a second-hand dress & accessories rental service for all occasions. The shop operates on circular economy and local principles. Its supplies consist of clothes that have be lying dormant in people’s wardrobes and that will make someone happy for an evening or weekend.
An ecological dry-cleaning and seamstress team handles maintenance and alterations.
The pollution generated by the textile industry ranks second in terms of ecological impact. By implementing the concept of slow fashion, Coucou snubs its nose at conventional wisdom about the fashion industry by combining style and the preservation of the planet.
How can hub.brussels help circular companies?
hub.brussels provides free tools and support to companies that want to include, or that have included circular economy in their business model. Here are our 3 services:
Do you have questions about the circular economy in Brussels? Contact Patricia!
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