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Circular Wonderings

Hi, I’m Barry. I founded HappyPorch in 2015 and I’m excited about the Circular Economy.

I believe that we (me, you, HappyPorch and society in general) need to do more than react to climate change and loss of biodiversity and all the other issues caused by our waste. Rather, we need to find ways to solve those issues AND improve life on our planet. There is a chance that, with Circular Economy approaches, we can contribute to these regenerative solutions.

Circular Wonderings is an exploration of the role of digital, software and technology in the Circular Economy. Exploration is the key word here. I write regularly, reflecting on my current thoughts and research. Expect typos, incomplete thoughts, varied rambling topics and (hopefully) a journey towards clearer understanding and insight.

This is a long and difficult journey! But it is, I think, a road worth travelling.

To join me on this journey subscribe to receive daily (yes daily!) emails. I'd love to hear your thoughts or feedback, just subscribe and reply to any email.

Archive

Circular Jobs

A successful Circular Economy transition relies on renewable energy & is a major part of zero-waste strategies. There is growing evidence that Zero-waste strategy creates jobs [1]. There is also the fact that "200,000 new jobs could be created in the renewable energy and clean technology sector by 2035" [2]. Question: how could that affect you?   [1]: https://resource.co/ar ...

Circularity Gap Report 2021

The annual Circularity Gap Report is pretty grim reading. "Last year, Circle Economy's Circularity Gap Report revealed that our world is only 8.6% circular, leaving a massive Circularity Gap. The outlook is grim. Just two years ago that number was 9.1%." [1] However, in this video discussion[2] of the report there is also some really interesting and positive signs. It includes ...

Four building blocks

@marcovce[1] has tweeted this excellent, succinct summary of four of the cornerstones of circular economy approaches. 1. New product design enabling reuse, recycling and cascading 2. Innovative circular business models 3. Reverse cycles reducing leakage of materials out of the system 4. Enablers and favourable system conditions [2] I have a minor quibble with this. To me ...

What Roy says

I enjoyed this quote from Roy Vercoulen co-founder of Circular IQ[1]. “The first step... is to create more awareness [of the fact] that to be able to achieve a circular economy, you need to keep track of individual material properties throughout the lifecycle of a product”[2]. He continues: “Once we start tracking all these materials, then I really see the value of marketplaces ...

A cautionary tail

There is a really great (partly apocryphal) story about unintended consequences and the need for systems thinking. Set on an island in Borneo in the early 1950s, the story starts with, the very laudable, goal of reducing deaths from malaria. However, the results include people's roofs falling in, depletion of food stores and plague! And, then, having to parachute in cats the fi ...

Champions of circular change

Fairphone[1] is one of my favourite companies. One reason I like them is that they told me not to buy one one of their phones. OK, what their marketing actually says is: buy one of their phones, but only when you really need a new phone. This is one great demonstration of what makes them different. Their mission is to change an industry, not just join the hamster wheel of makin ...

Righteous Anger

Yesterday I was asked a question that made me realise something. I am angry. Full on, red in the face enraged. I mean, there is a good chance that to make the laptop I am using now, a child has been forced to spend 12 hours a day slaving in a mine[1]. That is something to be angry about. Imagine an 8 or 10 year old you know. Now imagine them working in incredibly dangerous and ...

Gold in them thar... waste

"A smartphone is made up of 62 different metals and metalloids, which all contribute to essential components of a device. In order to obtain these precious metals and produce a single smartphone, 34kg of ore needs to be mined, using 100 litres of water and 20.5g of cyanide." [1] In our prevailing linear economy the assumption is that every single gram is used once, and then thr ...

My hands are full

A software engineer goes to the bar to collect a round of drinks. The barman, seeing them struggle to carry all the drinks, asks: "Would you like a tray"? They reply: "no thanks, I have enough to carry already". This is currently my third favourite joke. (Numbers one and two involve parrots and tractors respectively.) Like a lot of humour, it pokes fun at something that is very ...