circular economy chart

The Circular Economy

October is Circular Economy Month

October 2022 is Canada’s first-ever public awareness month dedicated to educating and engaging Canadians on the Circular Economy.

As Indigenous peoples that have been on these lands since time immemorial, although we may not identify as Canadians, it is useful to know where the country is heading when it comes to solid waste management (managing our garbage). Our traditional knowledge has always informed us that all things happen in cycles. Our ceremonies place importance on circles - our Elders teach us that circles create balance, ensuring that we are all equals. As Indigenous peoples, we have always placed importance on environmental protection. Keep reading to learn about how Canada is approaching this

What is the Circular Economy?

In the past, solid waste management had a very linear approach: Take --> Make--> Waste. This means
that many of the products we use and consume are designed for convenience with a very limited life
and diminished value over time. The circular economy is a different way of looking at how we use materials and resources, with an emphasis on the 3R approach: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

The Circular Economy moves beyond the linear approach to a more sustainable, longer-lasting, and higher-value system of use. In the circular economy, products are used in ways that maximize their lifecycle, while reducing waste. This can involve recycling, reusing, repairing, sharing, refurbishing, and more.

circular economy

So, what does this mean for solid waste management?

The Circular Economy is about going beyond recycling – it’s about incorporating better designs that consume less raw materials during production, and improving products and services to reduce, and ultimately, eliminate waste. The circular economy means closing the cycle of raw materials and changing the way value is created and preserved. The Circular Economy prioritizes environmental protection from the start. In this “new” way of thinking, products will be designed so resources can be reused and reinvested in new products again and again.

For more information and resources on
Circular Economy Month, check out:

Heidi Manitowabi, OFNTSC Regional Solid Waste Specialist.