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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

Partial Circles

No single individual, business, sector, government or even country can be fully 'circular' alone. The larger the system the more circular the potential. Therefore, cooperation is vital [1]. However, that doesn't mean waiting for the prefect solution. And is certainly is not an excuse for a slower pace of change or missing out on opportunities. That, in turn, means that embracin ...

AI & Big Data recycling

Recycling is the loop of last resort in the circular economy. BUT we do need that loop and we need it to be efficient. Recent bans on imported waste by China and Turkey means countries such as the UK can no longer outsource the challenge of disposing of their plastic waste in an environmentally friendly fashion. We have to face our own waste problems! This TechMonitor article [ ...

Let's raise all the boats

A transition to a circular economy requires cooperation between public and private sectors, across disciplines and between businesses of all sizes. This is equally as important across borders as it is within specific geographies. No single individual, business, sector, government or even country can solve the climate problem alone. “A rising tide raises all boats”. I'm stealing ...

Cool technologies

"As global temperatures increase due to climate change, more air conditioners and cooling appliances are deployed, driving greenhouse gas emissions and outdoor temperatures higher, exacerbating climate change. Between 2019 and 2050, the number of air-conditioners sold is projected to more than quadruple, with associated energy demand tripling." [1] The Environmental Investigati ...

Infrastructure for practicality

Large organisations like the NHS have great potential to become a force for positive movement on circularity and sustainability - though the power of numbers and procurement etc. That's where I wish they would be... [1] There is growing interest and action. For example, continuing with the healthcare theme, "Health Care Without Harm Europe" [2] are working at the policy level. ...

Is it practical?

Recently I was asked this excellent question: Talking of take, make, waste - I was giving blood today which requires a bit of waiting between each process. And I noticed that members of staff would put on a fresh plastic apron after speaking with each donor. Afterwards, it went straight in the bin with the rubber gloves and was replaced with a new one. It made me wonder how wi ...

Chicken or egg?

When do software platforms enable circularity to exist and when are they created to help existing circular requirements? In other words: what are the situations where the software creates new opportunity vs situations where it follows demand? Community sharing libraries are a great example of hyper local circular economy. "Community sharing libraries" may be Tool Libraries, Toy ...

Incentivising Reuse

Reuse of consumer (sigh) products and packaging is an important part of circularity. In order for 'reuse' to impact on the big climate and waste issues, it needs to be adopted at significant scale. As a friend recently wrote to me: "I don't believe individuals 'doing the right thing' will be the level of change that we need". Evidence seems to suggest this is true, and that it ...

Profit comes first

This is the fifth in a series looking at criticisms I have seen levelled at the "circular economy". Sometimes when I first attempt to explain the Circular Economy the assumption is made that it's a fringe "green" activist thing. To paraphrase the criticism: One of the main motivations in global economic systems is short term profit. So, why would businesses change their process ...