The circular economy is a system for regenerating and restoring by design. By optimizing resources through reuse and recycling, waste is designed out of the process. Using this business model decreases or eliminates landfill and waste disposal fees, generates new products and services, and provides energy savings. Designers, engineers and business employees at all levels can achieve these goals.
Unlike the take, make and dispose model of the linear economy, the circular economy focuses on designing waste out of products and by-products with the intent of being repurposed or reused (Ellen MacArthur Foundation).
MillerCoors Brewing in Trenton is an example of a large Ohio manufacturer leading in the circular economy. Landfill free since 2009, MillerCoors recycles or reuses more than 99 percent of the materials involved in its production process. More than 200 million pounds of waste per year is recycled from the brewery. For every five truckloads of beer shipped, one truckload of materials is sent out for recycling, reuse or other beneficial use. For example, MillerCoors sends its spent grain from the brewing process to local farmers for use as animal feed.
This spring, Ohio EPA launched a free online platform for Ohio businesses to take steps toward transitioning to the circular economy. The Ohio Materials Marketplace is a free, easy way for Ohio businesses to exchange by-products and waste materials with other businesses. Businesses post available or wanted materials, then communicate through a messaging system to determine transportation and logistics. The goal of the Marketplace is to help Ohio businesses reduce their landfill waste and to encourage more reuse and recycling in business practices. OMM now has more than 400 member organizations and lists 100 available materials and 45 wanted materials.
Narrowing the gap between reuse and disposal/pollution for waste generation brings businesses in Ohio closer to the ideal circular economy model. Becoming a member of the marketplace can help you achieve your sustainability goals. For more information, watch our introductory webinar at youtube.com/1YfFIMGq4_I, and go to ohio.materialsmarketplace.org to join today. For questions, please contact Joseph Klatt at firstname.lastname@example.org (614) 705-1147.