Circular economy – becoming a zero waste and resource efficient business

Circular economy – becoming a zero waste and resource efficient business
We at Silostop are committed to finding the most sustainable way of helping farmers and silage makers around the world reduce the amount of plastic used in the ensiling process while improving the quality and quantity of the silage under our films and covers. We invest in research and development and are constantly looking for alternatives to plastic, but until we are able to move away from plastic completely, we want to make sure our products can reduce plastic use, be reused and recycled whenever possible, and a big part of this is understanding why and how we are trying to achieve this. 

We are consuming beyond sustainable levels

We depend on materials for the manufacture of goods and delivery of services for societal functioning. World population is projected to reach nearly 10bn by 2050. This rapidly growing population and emerging middle class in developing countries is outstripping supply, increasing material price, and causing our most pressing environmental and social issues. For instance, the extraction and processing of materials is highly energy intensive and a major global contributor to climate change, biodiversity degradation, human rights abuses, and waste. Reducing material use and waste is, therefore, a key enabler for transitioning towards a circular, net-zero carbon, and just society.

As a business, we recognise current patterns of consuming materials and managing waste is unsustainable. Inaction poses threats to maintaining business continuity, achieving net-zero, and meeting basic needs for society and future generations. We recognise the urgent need to address this challenge and we are committed to reducing our resource use, minimising our impact on biodiversity, and achieving net zero in the shortest possible timeframe. Using our guiding sustainability principles, we are committed to using the resources we have – our businesses, our investments, our voice, and our imaginations – to do something about it.

What is the circular economy

Circular economy is a radical change to the model in which resources are mined, made into products, and then become waste. Currently, we operate a linear economy whereby raw materials are collected, transformed into products which are used briefly, and then thrown away. A circular economy, on the other hand, instead reduces material use, redesigns materials to be less resource intensive, and recaptures “waste” as a resource to manufacture new materials and products. The circular economy engenders responsible consumption, secures supply, reduces environmental impact, and mitigates costs.

Business level action we can take

There are many views and approaches for managing waste and enhancing the circularity of our products, manufacturing activities, business, and supply chain. Taking a principle-based approach allows us to focus our strategy, inform decision, and maximise effort for making the largest difference. The waste management hierarchy below provides a priority order for selecting and implementing initiatives. To establish a resilient and sustainable business, we should always seek to design out/eliminate or reduce what we can first and minimise send any unavoidable waste to landfill or incineration.

We can all do our bit to play a part in both our personal life and at work. What can you do in your role? What are some quick wins? Are we using materials sustainably and maximising value from any unavoidable wastes? How can we redesign our products or services? What can we do alternatively?

Dr. Abdul Miah
Group Sustainability and ESG Manager
Milbank Group