The Expanding World of the Circular Economy
Circular, preowned, preloved – the language is becoming ever more creative, avoiding perhaps the negative associations of “second hand” or the higher expectations of “vintage”. Whatever the language though, the circular economy trend is leveraging the consumer’s desire to declutter, minimize waste, refresh a wardrobe – and all with the added benefit of saving some money and enjoying to a more sustainable lifestyle.
We have come a long way from cutting up old sweatshirts to make cleaning rags. Nowadays people are selling clothes on a variety of websites and apps, clothing swapping events are organized in addition to flea markets, and apparel brands are encouraging consumers to bring back clothing they no longer wear in exchange for vouchers. In addition to those in good condition being resold, old textile is also made into new ones by the fashion industry. Although the amount being reused is still tiny compared to the total production and waste globally (87% of the total fiber input used for clothing is either landfilled or incinerated), it’s reassuring to see the problem being addressed by both the manufacturers and consumers.
The sharing economy comes in many forms. In addition to normalizing buying and gifting not-brand-new stuff, various initiatives are popping up to promote sharing with the community – a set of stickers to be placed on your mailbox to indicate you have a power drill, an inflatable mattress, a big rake, a set of crutches, that you’re more than happy to lend/lease to someone else, so that they don’t need to purchase something that is only needed once in a few years. Obviously online groups are making such sharing even more efficient and hassle free.
Fast fashion – or these days, fast almost anything, gained in popularity largely because of the affordability, but the environmental problem they have created is too big an issue for anyone to look away from. Wouldn’t it be great if greater affordability can be enjoyed through sharing and recycling, so that what brought us happiness could continue doing so in other households, instead of heading directly to the landfill while still in its prime?
Why is the circular economy interesting?
With the circular economy developing further in the business world and deeper in our life, it has impact on many aspects, like the fashion industry, as in circular fashion industry, and the leasing industry which expanded further than the automotive industry. It is re-inventing consumption habits, and certainly changing how companies develop their strategies.
At ADK Insights, we continue to monitor trends in the fashion and consumer goods industries to forecast how their impact will influence consumer behaviour, advertising models, and media consumption in general.