Mini-Cycle subscribes to a different economic model, one where as few resources as possible are lost – the circular economy.
But what exactly is a circular economy?
The definition, as per the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, is as follows: A circular economy is one that is restorative and regenerative by design.
In simpler terms, a circular economy prioritizes conservation. And knowing that we live in a finite world, our economy should not be linear. We would do better to pursue a strategy similar to the cycle of life – nothing is lost, nothing is created.
Practically, in our everyday lives, we need to eliminate the concept of waste. How? By mimicking nature. Whether we operate businesses, work for someone or are in decision-making positions, we should aim at treating all manmade items like “nutrients” that can be broken down and repurposed. No trash should be created; all items, at the end of their utility, should be reused, recycled, renewed and/or reinvented.
If you think about it, it is just common sense! Why use so much effort to extract new raw material, when all the raw material we need is right in front of our eyes? By sending our items to the landfill, we simply make things harder for ourselves. Who wants to manage trash, anyway?
Some concrete examples fall very close to home.
- Reuse: Mini-Cycle products come with a buy-back guarantee, thereby ensuring that nothing is wasted.
- Recycle: One of our outerwear suppliers, Faire Child, uses design as a tool for circularity. Their coats are built so that they can be disassembled, so that at the end of their useful life all parts can be recycled properly.
- Renew: At the end of the useful life of Mini-Cycle clothes, customers are encouraged to return their garments for a symbolic amount, so that our team can work its magic and renew (repair, make the items look like new again in a somewhat modified format)
- Reinvent: now this is a clever way to upcycle items! (upcycle: increasing the value of the original item). For instance, two of our suppliers use fabric made from recycled plastic bottles (PET). So instead of sending the plastic bottles to the landfill where they will contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, they are reused to make beautiful, durable fabric for bathing suits (Les Petites Natures), Outerwear (Faire Child) and many other applications.
To learn more about this new ancient model, we found this very simple and short video, which you might find helpful (you’re welcome!).
About the author:
Jad Robitaille is the founder and owner of Mini-Cycle. She is also a sessional professor at McGill University, where she teaches Strategies for Sustainability in the Faculty of Management.