The Little Circular Economy That Could

The little Circular Economy looked up at the tall mountain. It knew that to save the world, it needed to climb Mount Carbon. But it was so small, and Mount Carbon was so tall.

Author: Kevin Dooley

“Don’t worry,” said the scientists and engineers, “we can help you up the mountain.”

And the scientists and engineers brought out new designs like bioplastics and cool technologies like chemical recycling. The little engine huffed and puffed and made some progress, but alas it was stuck again.

“Hey ho, what about us?”

…yelled the different companies in the value chain. A food manufacturer chimed in. “We committed to 50% PCR content!” A recycler followed. “Our material recovery facilities have robots!”

The little engine’s wheels dug in, horsepower was applied, and the train leapt 100 meters forward, and then lurched to a stop…

Out of fuel

“Fuel? You need fuel? We are the fuel of this value chain!”

…screamed the consumers. “We buy it. We dispose it. Just tell us what to do!” And a parade of cool labels and hip consumers started pushing the train with all their might, but there just weren’t enough of them.

Around the bend came two engines, Investment and Policy. They both tended to ignore the circular economy because, after all, it was so little.

“We need to climb the mountain, and we realize now that our village of scientists and engineers and companies and consumers also need the magic ingredient of incentives to succeed.”

“Please help us Investment
and Policy!”

Investment and Policy looked at each other. “We normally don’t care about such little engines, but we know your mission is important. Investment got behind the engine and it forged forward.

“We shall put capital into this system and make it hum!”

Policy got behind Investment and said, “There shall be extended producer responsibility!” The Circular Economy engine got faster and faster and reached the top of Mount Carbon. “Let there be circularity!” it shouted. Investment nudged Policy and whispered, “Hey, that engine isn’t so little after all…

At the top of Mount Carbon, the little Circular Economy tweeted to its followers: #IThinkICan #IKnewICould

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