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Dynamic EMS and the Circular Economy – from Lifecycle to Life Circle

With the current pandemic being the focus of the entire world, other issues have rightfully taken a back seat. Topics that just a few months ago seemed so important are now discarded. Interestingly enough, the pandemic and its repercussions have also generated some surprisingly positive impacts to our world. In some areas, the skies are bluer, the water is cleaner, and wildlife are returning. This provides some hope that we as humans can help heal our earth.

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One of the areas that offers hope is in improving product lifecycles - designing them for repurpose or reuse. You may consider a circular economy to be simply reduce, reuse, recycle, but it is, or can be, much more. The concept aims to close cycles, using products and resources in the best way possible across the entire value chain. This is a dramatic shift away from the linear model of “take-make-dispose," toward a system of closed loops powered by renewable energy.

Innovation is notorious for being disruptive, upending our day-to-day habits and frustrating designers as it dares us to find a better way. It can also be said that the “normal,” or our standard, everyday process, is the enemy of innovation. This is certainly true when it comes to manufacturing. We can get used to doing things the same way, dulled by the repetition, and lulled into repeating yesterday’s modest success. So, how do we change our ways? The answer can be found in a form of lifelong learning.

The Dynamic EMS service model extends beyond our capability to manufacture quality products, to the way we design for a circular economy, keeping in mind our end customer as well as the environment. Dynamic has been working with WasteSwitch, a consultative company specialising in environmental procedures, corporate responsibility and related compliance. Kenny Wiggins, Board & Trusted Advisor for WasteSwitch, explains how a circular economy requires everyone to understand the targets and the processes for getting there. Employees need to embrace, understand and respect the need for environmental action, then work toward those goals, which include CO2 reduction, environmental impact, sustainability reuse/recycle. Companies need to adhere to regulatory requirements and local legislation, so building those needs into a product lifecycle is a design must.

Their work with Dynamic is just part of the picture - WasteSwitch takes a comprehensive approach to lifelong learning, to reach everyone at different ages, stages and lifecycles, and reinforce the message on multiple platforms and perspectives. To achieve this, they work with educational establishments to talk about the importance of the circular economy within schools and colleges.. This can be in easy, simple steps such as recycling food, sorting by the colour of the bins and what goes where and why. The kids take this message home to their parents/guardians, who start to put these steps in place for the happiness of the child, a form of recycling gamification.

WasteSwitch will also go into workplaces, and if employees have children in school, the message is then doubly reinforced. Even if there are no children at home, the message goes home anyway, so the employee now understands how to recycle both at home and at work, often sharing with customers how to help our ecosystem, and ever aware that old methods can often be improved upon.

When Dynamic designs a product, it is now done with a consideration of the circular environment, with the knowledge that when this product’s usefulness is over, it will be able to be repurposed into something else that doesn’t negatively impact our Earth, completing the product life “circle.”

The disruption of COVID-19 offers us a unique opportunity to rethink how we do create, build and use. If anything, the pandemic has shown us the importance of human wellness and its connection to our environment, the fragility of our current system, and a compelling drive to do better. As months slide by, we may wish for a return to what we used to know. But maybe we’ve learned something - our old ‘normal’ may indeed not ever come back, and in some ways, that’s a good thing.

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