Turning bike tires into bags, sugar cane waste into to-go boxes, and reclaimed wood to new flooring is what the circular economy looks like. Each of these trash-to-treasure concepts are real practices by real businesses: Green Guru , which makes outdoor gear out of busted bike tubes and old climbing rope; Greenline Paper Company , which offers compostable to-go clamshells from bagasse (sugar cane waste fiber); and Pioneer Millworks which takes wood from dilapidated buildings for new home building projects. These are just a few examples of business leaders redefining capitalism as a mechanism to care for the planet instead of taking advantage of it. While this concept is getting more press in recent years, it is not a new phenomenon—compassionate businesses have been coming together for decades under Green America’s Green Business Network® to demonstrate unity for a circular economy. While there are several schools of thought that inform a circular economy—from cradle to cradle, to natural capitalism, to industrial ecology—at its most basic level, a circular economy is about rethinking supply chains to minimize waste. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation describes it in three parts: “designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating […]

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