The City of Airdrie has recently announced the month of October will be regarded as ‘Circular Economy Month.’
As such, the municipality will be educating residents about how they can reduce their waste and save money by rethinking their buying habits.
Mayor Peter Brown said the proclamation aligns with City council’s focus area for 2022-25 of environmental protection by encouraging residents to “share, repair, reduce, reuse, and recycle.”
“[Circular Economy Month] is also a terrific way to get out and support local businesses that you may not have in the past,” Brown said in a City of Airdrie press release. “Visit an Airdrie thrift shop, bring your mug to a coffee shop, or get your bike repaired. The options are endless.”
According to the Sept. 29 press release, a linear economy is one in which manufacturers take raw material, make something with it to be used by consumers, and thereafter, it is disposed of in the garbage. An example of this is the production of oil to be used to make sandwich bags for lunches that consumers then throw away after using them once.
Adversely, a circular economy is one where manufacturers take raw material that is designed to be recovered after its initial use, or the disposal of it is incorporated into the product’s design. An example of this type of product would be the production of a tin bento box, which consumers can use repeatedly for their lunches indefinitely, or recycle it when it has reached the end of its useful life.
“Historically, products have been designed for convenience without considering the waste they produce,” said Samantha Shulman, education coordinator for the City of Airdrie. “In a circular economy, products are designed so they can be reused and repurposed as new products.”
Residents who would like to participate in or commemorate Circular Economy Month are encouraged to apply the following principles.
Opt to buy products without packaging; bring your own container, mug, cutlery, shopping bag, and straw when shopping; refuse packaging when not needed such as straws, napkins, flyers, and bags; and buy fruits and vegetables without packaging.
Additionally, Airdronians can choose to repair products rather than dispose of them, such as broken zippers, ripped clothing, shoes, bikes, electronics, and equipment.
One could also choose to borrow or rent instead of owning via a visit to the library instead of buying books; or borrowing things they may only need for a brief time or once such as camping gear, specialized electronics or machines, cooking tools, and home décor or seasonal decorations.
“Buy products meant to last a long time or that can be reused, refurbished, or have a potential second life,” the press release encouraged.
Consumers can choose to buy pickles in glass jars that can be used afterwards for food storage or crafting; buy a quality roasting pan/pie plate versus a single-use pan; buy high-quality, long-lasting clothing versus fast-fashion, and consider thrift-shopping.
Additionally, shoppers are encouraged to support brands that offer lifetime warranties and repair policies, products that are designed to be recovered such as an item in a recyclable box versus non-recyclable packaging, and support companies that offer to take back products after their use.
Shulman said the City will be sharing more ideas throughout October about how residents can participate in the Circular Economy Month by changing their buying habits, including suggestions about local businesses to check out.
“Airdrie is full of young families that are especially busy at this time of year, so I know convenience often wins but with the cost-of-living rising steadily, many of these tips are worth the time investment for long-term savings,” she said.
Those interested in learning more about the circular economy are encouraged to visit airdrie.ca/circular