Going round in circles1
When Apple launched its latest Macbook last month, it was widely labelled “the least repairable laptop ever”. The tech company is known for its innovative approach to business in many areas, but environmental sustainability isn’t one of them. If Apple is to be believed, each upgrade to the iPhone instantly renders the last one obsolete, with many chucked straight in the landfill.
Rosie’s blog on the recycled Freitag bag got me thinking about the so-called ‘circular economy’. It’s an interesting concept – basically, using waste as a resource – and one which I’m planning to write about in more depth in the Corporate Citizenship Briefing. In the meantime though, what role can businesses play in cutting consumer waste?
A recent collaboration between Sony and Forum for the Future came up with the concept of a “device that evolves with you over your lifetime” to replace the current system of throwaway technology. A nice idea, if a bit hard to imagine in practice.
Away from the realm of science-fiction, Marks & Spencer has recently found success with its ‘shwopping’ model, whereby customers donate an old piece of clothing to Oxfam every time they buy a new one. Going a step further, US outdoor clothing brand Patagonia’s daring ‘Common Threads’ campaign urges customers to “reduce what you buy” and “repair what you can”, and provides a platform for them to sell second-hand gear.
Are we starting to see a sea-change, with consumers turning against some of the excesses of throwaway culture? M&S certainly thinks so – it now aims to start turning ‘shwopped’ items back into new clothing. In the longer-term, it states that technology will revolutionise recycling.
A chip in every product, allowing for simple, efficient recycling? Now there’s an Apple gadget I can get behind.