Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Prepare for the circular economy

Circular economy: a sustainable future economy

Traditional production is a linear economy in which materials are produced, refined and made into materials which are sent to the manufacturing process. These then are sold, used and then disposed of, often to landfill.

It takes 20 times more energy to produce an aluminium drinks can from raw materials than it does to produce one from a used aluminium can. Savings like this make for a more efficient production process, reducing costs and improving long term sustainability.

In particular the possible shortages of key materials, such as the rare elements used in the production of electronics, makes recycling, re-use and remanufacturing the sustainable option.

Managing resource use, such as energy, water and raw materials all contribute towards a more circular approach.

The leasing of goods, rather than selling them, means that upgrading, retrofitting and remanufacture of goods is easier to organise and can bring significant cost savings to your business and the client.

Introducing loops to create a more circular model

Closed loops help to reduce waste, and divert waste from landfill.

Recycling materials

Recycling materials keeps them as valuable commodities that increase business efficiency.

Design for remanufacture

Product design can influence what happens to used products. They can be designed for disassembly and refurbishment, making new improved products from existing components.

For more information about how the circular economy will improve your business activities see:

Ellen MacArthur Foundation: The Circular Economy

Ellen MacArthur Foundation: Closed Loop

NetRegs: Towards the circular economy

BSI has created a free briefing on the newly developed BS 8001:2007 standard Framework for implementing the principles of the circular economy in organizations. This aims to help businesses take steps to develop a more circular approach to their activities.

BSI: Executive briefing: BS 8001 – a guide

You can get help to develop a more circular approach to your business activities from a number of business support organisations. This can be in the form of advice and training as well as funding opportunities. 

In Northern Ireland see our page:  Business support organisations  - Northern Ireland

In Scotland see our page: Business support organisations  - Scotland


In this Guideline

Produce a policy statement

Ensure legal compliance

Implement an environmental management system (EMS)

Manage your purchases to minimise your environmental impact

Prepare for the circular economy

Communicate with your staff

Report on your environmental perfomance

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