The circular economy is an economic paradigm that optimizes the use of raw materials and energy by changing the way we think about the use of resources and products.
The circular economy is a conceptual change that arises from a new way of thinking about sustainability – considering the entire product life cycle and supply chain, trying to improve it at every stage, by using all resources in an effective way. This is an approach to optimize closed-loop resources for industrial and commercial systems.
Circular economy is based on 3 key principles:
- Designing out waste and pollution from the conceptualization of product cycle.
- Innovative and technology mechanisms which keep materials and resources in use.
- Restoration of natural ecosystems, by implementing greater use of renewable agriculture and symbiosis approach where the result of one development stage is a resource for another.
From the Industrial Revolution to the present, the global economy has been based on a “take-make-dispose” model – i.e., we buy a product, use it for a very limited period of time, and then throw it away.
Today, developed economies purchase and manufacture large quantities of materials, ignoring their continued availability and the effects of their consumption and disposal on our planet.
This linear approach from manufacturing to consumption to disposal, is usually unsustainable, and and typically imposes extraordinary pressure on essential aspects of the natural ecosystem, such as water, air and soil. The linear economic model also has disregards the limited supply of raw materials. This causes economic uncertainty, which reflected in the raw material prices and increased demand.
These problems are solved in a circular economy.
Recognizing the importance of adopting sustainable modes of human behavior, the circular economy aims to achieve sustainable economically growth, by breaking the link between economic development and inefficient consumption of resources.
Through structural changes such as redesign, reuse and re-production using innovation and new business models, the circular economy model is based on the principle that materials and their value will remain sustained, rather than being discarded.
Shifting from a linear to circular economy has great economic and environmental benefits:
- encouraging innovation
- encouraging long-term sustainability
- improving competitiveness
- preserving resources, including those which are becoming increasingly scarce, or subject to price fluctuations
- cost saving for industries
- creating new business opportunities and jobs
- creating innovative businesses and new kind of resources.
Heineken Mexico is taking action in order to adopt the circular model and is a building new brewery incorporating circular practices such as wastewater recycling that will be used for non-product applications; reusing brewer’s grain as cattle feed; and recovering waste heat from the neighboring glass factory to be used in the brewing process.
Heineken Vietnam introduced its circular economy practices, seeks not only to reduce waste but also to create value from the waste. This includes:
- Moving towards ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’ with close to 99% of waste and by-products being reused or recycled:
- Almost 100% of HEINEKEN Vietnam’s bottles are returned for reuse before eventually being recycled, while materials like cardboard, aluminum, plastic and paper are likewise reused or recycled
- 100% of its wastewater is treated to Grade A so it can be reused or returned safely to the environment
- Powering four of its six breweries with renewable thermal energy from carbon neutral, biomass-generated steam.
- Reducing 2,500-tonne of CO2 emissions from its logistic operations