Time for a change in thinking
25 August 2015
In a circular economy, residual products form the raw materials for new production processes, just as in nature.
This means that waste and residual products are reused or are biologically degradable and as much energy as possible is extracted from renewable sources in a sustainable manner instead of from fossil sources. It also means that water and land are used efficiently and least possible burden is placed on the ecosystem.
More governments and companies are seeing that a circular economy not only has benefits for the environment and the well-being of future generations, but also for the economy. The employment gains lie in the work that is needed for the sustainable design, repair and disassembly of products and making them suitable for reuse. In addition to cost savings, sustainability also means that products have a longer lifespan and that raw materials or components can be reused.
In research conducted in 2014, The Dutch organisation for Applied Scientific Research came to the conclusion that Europe stood to gain around 50 billion euros and 300,000 jobs. This is a reason for the EU in Brussels to include the transition to a circular economy as an objective in its pan-European directives.
European Cleaning Machines Recycling (ECMR) is one of the companies that is dedicated to making the transition to a circular economy for the cleaning industry.
André Vonk, co-founder of ECMR, said: "We see circular business practices as the business practices of the future. Innovative businesses that depend less on new raw materials and appreciate sustainability and new consumer preferences are more solid. Tomorrow's winners are those businesses that are already thinking about future challenges now.
"One important ingredient in circular business practices is the collaboration between the parties within the cleaning industry supply chain so as to achieve optimum implementation and transparency for a better living environment. Production processes need to be more efficiently designed in order to be able to deal more efficiently with raw materials. For instance, by thinking about how a cleaning machine can retain its value for as long as possible during the design stage. By building cleaning machines and related product technologies in a modular manner, you can more easily disassemble and repair them and reuse their components in another product. However, a circular economy also calls for a change in thinking by manufacturers, consumers, service providers and governments. It requires parties in the supply chain to work closely together and for new agreements between manufacturers, distributors/importers and end users."
Vonk added: "ECMR has ISO 14001 & 26000 certification, it is a member of the Dutch Waste Management Association and since 2014 has expanded its field of operations beyond the Benelux region. Demand is increasing in Europe for a sustainable and responsible solution for the ecosystem within the cleaning industry."
ECMR provides sustainable treatment of cleaning machines and related product technologies that it fully disassembles and recycles in a responsible manner. All clients that are affiliated with ECMR (manufacturers, distributors and end users) receive a waste stream number and an official certificate that describes the appliance and states the date that it was disassembled and recycled when they hand in cleaning machines or related cleaning product appliances such as vacuum cleaners, high-pressure cleaners and dispensers. In this way, the supply chain contributes to raw materials that make reuse possible.