Gifts are a traditional part of many people’s winter holiday season. For children, especially, it’s a time of eager anticipation.
As a parent, I’ve scanned my kids’ wish lists, which, not surprisingly, are full of consumer electronics like games consoles, phones and tablets, as well as the latest fashionable clothes.
Although I get a kick out of seeing their excitement as they unwrap their presents, there’s also a part of me that feels we should be doing things differently.
Which is why my daughter’s new mobile phone isn’t actually new, but a refurbished model. Instead of only buying new clothes, we’re looking at used/vintage items from online trading apps here in the Netherlands. On top of this, our family Christmas tree will be replanted after the festivities for use next year.
I believe it’s time to break the cycle of take-make-waste in favor of a circular model that re-uses as many resources as possible. Just keeping a phone in use for an extra year can cut its lifetime CO2 impact by a third (PDF 1.58 MB), while also reducing demand for precious materials and avoiding the emissions associated with buying a new model.
But we’ve a long way to go. According to the latest Global Circularity Gap report the global economy is only 8.6 percent circular. If this continues, by 2030 the world will be 40 percent short of its required natural resources.