Today is the official day called Circular Monday and it origins from a counter reaction on the Black Friday shopping spree. It seems to be growing and extending over time to become Black Week or even Black Month. My text started off as a teeny-tiny small draft, but it turned out to a read of about 5-10 minutes. Tips for a circular living are at the bottom if you want to scroll by a bit of the background – if you’re eager to start going circular straight away. #circularmonday

Circular Monday was earlier named White Monday and the projects intention is to focus more on sustainability and awareness about circular use of resources, and circular consumer behaviors when it comes to shopping. Really its a counter re-action and action opposing the Black Friday buying bonaza.

White Monday was actually started in Sweden and has since 2014 grown to a global movement which can be read about further on the homepage of Medveten Konsumtion. They have compiled a growing list of companies that applies the principles of circularity in products as well as services. The list is growing and includes both services providers and regular producers.

Black Friday comes with a lot of offers at sometimes ridiculously cheap costs and the postal service offices have a hard time keeping up to handle the goods flooding across the countries borders. There’s always a cheaper offer somewhere. But who’s really paying the price of the widescreen TV’s being replaced at the same rate as you turn the moon while living your daily life?

Probably the most common buyer doesn’t want to spend time fixing an old product, it might not be trendy or cost more to repair in time and money to get it sorted. Your needs change, or at least they are perceived to do so quickly as daily media tells us so. It is so hard to avoid and resist the constant bawl of commercial outcries. Perhaps your eyesight is really poor these days, so the only way is to purchase a bigger TV to be able to see all the misery around the globe in bigger images. Or, maybe not so. The producers makes us have to struggle hard to repair our products. The cost and hassle requires a senior project manager with multiple assistants to cope finding a replacement spare part. If at all available for purchase. And if the part even can be replaced without a Ph.D in electronics or mechanical engineering you might have to import it and wait a month before it can be delivered. Laws and restrictions tend to allow all this set up to slip through our the system. The legislation is not even looking into sorting out guidance or fines in terms of reparability (is that even a word?), recycling and what materials that are being put into our foods, systems and products.

Laws promoting circularity is something on the table of our legislators, so if you are a person in a position to make an impact: please step up for the planet and require more laws for user friendly, clever and long term use of our resources.

As we live today many of our western countries consume and use resources many times more than what is actually available on our sole globe. But we are here to make a change – we are the consumers telling the businesses how to act – and what we need from them with our daily decisions when shopping.

Circularity is really a key for change to make everything possible to re-use without stepping back to the previous method where there is an end of life to a produce. This newer mindset aims to create closed loops of flows for both materials, energy and exchange processes. One process might develop heat, and another one might need it. That way one solution can be initiated between partnering producers and create interlinked co-dependencies and also co-sharing for effective use of e.g. materials, components, storage, energy or nutrients. There’s a long way to go, but already since before there are innumerous initiatives to make circularity happen, check out this homepage for inspiration.

Tips for personal circularity

So what can you do to make your life more circular and sustainable? Here’s a few handy tips that you probably have heard about before, but might find useful anyhow.

  1. Only purchase what you R-E-A-L-L-Y need, and things that can last. – This is really a no-brainer, what you do not buy doesn’t have to be produced – and can therefore not impact the environment throughout the chain of material supply, production, shipment, use or recycling.
  2. Use what you have as long as possible. – Find stuff you have had your eyes on for ages. Wear, tear, love and repaire. What you have should be cherished. If you care for all that you buy, it will last. Then the chance of it being in mint condition is far better if you love it – once you choose to sell or give it away no the next of kin or whoever pays best.
  3. Buy second hand – this is more than a hipster thing that will fly by as a trend, so start getting used to living with someone elses pre-loved items. Buying second hand might be a bit time consuming, or more so used to be. These days it is a much easier process as many homepages even offers the selling online, as a part of their service. Yes you pay a few bucks, you earn a few more – but your garage is cleaner and someone else is happy to use what you have parted from.
  4. Repair – fix your sofa button, replace electronics with a spare part or hand in your jacket to get that zipper fixed. It’s cheap and the thought process is usually more time consuming than the actual action. This mindset is a natural thought when it comes to our car, home or more expensive purchases. So if we really love our stuff we might be more eager to see it as an investment, fix it if you get to keep your best shoes for another few decades.
  5. Share or rent– if you’re not friends with your neighbor and can borrow their grass trimmer, these days there are tons of apps and platforms that makes sharing easy. You can rent your high tec audio for an event along with the smoke machine, sublet your car that is standing around idle most of the time or lend your sleeping bag to a friend going on a hike.
  6. Electronics – switch of on the power switch, or on the branch outlet to prevent form going into stand by. Remove chargers from the socket when not in use. Turn off lamps when leaving the room. (Yep, boring but easy) If you’re tech savvy, make a one time smart investment lamps/light bulbs that can be triggered to turn on when someone walks in. Ask at the retail if what you crave has spare parts or can be sent to repair. Is the LED-lamp possible to replace? If not, think again.
  7. Public transportation– in some areas or countries this is a tricky one. I never really understood in practice that it is not always to just “getting on a bus” to transport yourself where you want to go. But if possible – co-drive, use busses/trains or whatever sturdy (and friendly) animal available to travel in a eco-friendly way.
  8. Arrange a hand-me-down event – arrange a flee market, switching clothes with friends while sipping wine, or set up a booth sale in your neighborhood. It might be a nice thing to arrange it connected to specific interest or need, might it be children’s clothing with dots – being very specific, electronics or maybe kitchen hardware. For seasonal items such as skis, snowboards and outgrown down clothing there is usually a big interest.
  9. Food – Eat local, ecological, in season and be creative with leftovers. Challenge your friend on digital cook-along dinner made from freezer treassure hunts.
  10. Influence ! – We might not all be able to be global influencers with well known brands and names. But you can always impact locally. Invite your friends on a vegetarian dinner, ask your parents to travel less or choose to buy your next armchair from a second hand shop. If you want to go bigger – engage with an organisation, write an article in a newspaper about whatever your passionate about or become a politician yourself.

So you might find these tips daunting, and overpowering. It can apply to your whole life and might seem like a task that’s too big to even consider changing anything. So you go on as before. But if you take one small step in one area you never even considered before, you’ve come a long way. It starts with awareness and mindset. That as small as we are, we all share this beautiful globe, and we are in it together. One action at the time, one less randomly shopped product at the time.

Please do comment and share if you have any more great tips about how to act in daily life, to make it easier for ourselves and the environment to become circular!

Have a great day!

With love – Annika

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