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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. Subscribe here to join my journey.

Circular Software Reuse example

Linear software is not circular [1].

So, what is circular software?

It is software that enables a transition to circularity. More than that, it should encourage, accelerate and enhance that transition.

Let's look at an example:  the introduction of reusable packaging is currently hampered by existing linear systems and processes. Transforming, for example, the packaging used in a supermarket product requires a complete change to existing processes. Existing software is a barrier to that change. Circular transformation in these existing processes and systems is expensive. Worse, from the point of view of streamlined existing businesses, it is a huge leap into the unknown. Processes need to change to track reusable containers, get them back, clean them and so on.  These processes do not exist yet and there is a complete lack of data and experience to inform decisions.

Reath [2] is a Scottish startup changing that. Their software platform puts reuse at the centre, which means that the software now becomes the vehicle for transformation. It is worth noting that Reath's solution to this problem involves more than the software itself, it also includes an open data standard [3]. This will help address the gap in business understanding and provide a foundation on which these new processes can be optimised - eventually reaching the same level of efficiency as the linear process, but with all the upsides of circularity.