The Circular Materials Economy

Screen Shot 2022-09-26 at 5.29.59 PMOur materials economy, the system by which products are manufactured and used, has functioned linearly like a production line. A resource is gathered, processed, and turned into a good, bought and used, and finally disposed of in a trashcan, and more often than not it's shipped off to a landfill. Sometimes the products are recycled back into raw resources to be made into a new item, but this is dependent on a town or states recycling infrastructure, consumer education, and many other factors.

Globally, only 9 % of national resources converted to products are recycled each year. This inefficient system has now generated so much waste that the planet now has more waste on it than bio-mass, which includes all living things.  

Blaine County is collaborating with the community to identify ways to circularize our economy. What does that look like? A circular economy replaces a linear waste system by considering the full life-cycle of a product before it is even produced. By doing so, products are created to be reused and recycled. When a product is purchased, it is not thrown away but rather returned to the producer, used for another purpose, or regenerated into another product.

Shifting to this type of economy results in less waste, lower emissions, and a healthier planet. By using key resources like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Recycling Strategy, we plan to identify solutions and implement them alongside community stakeholders, businesses, and residents.

RESOURCES

To learn more about circular economies and how you can contribute to circularizing our community's economy, explore the resources below.