Circular Economy Workshop This Week at RILA’s #RSECC

It's becoming increasingly impossible to attend a sustainability conference these days without encountering some discussion on the circular economy. This is a good thing and it makes it an exciting time to be working on the issue of sustainable consumption. Momentum is clearly building to find solutions that will close the loop on all of the stuff that we make and consume.

This week is no exception, as we have the pleasure of facilitating a workshop on the circular economy at RILA's annual Sustainability and Environmental Compliance Conference (RSECC) in Washington, DC. We're particularly excited to be there because, for years, RILA has been at the forefront of creating collaborative opportunities to improve the sustainability performance of the retail industry. Retailers play an incredibly important role in achieving a truly circular economy, because they're out there interacting with consumers each and every day, both online and in brick and mortar stores.

For a long time, when people thought about closed loop systems or the circular economy, the focus was almost exclusively on recycling. While recycling and take-back systems remain incredibly important, discussions have been advancing into so many other areas, from encouraging reuse of products, better design (for easier repair, longevity, and ultimately recycling), and product-as-a-service business models like we're seeing in the carpet and lighting industries.

Moreover, we've found that pursuing circular economy strategies can have environmental benefits well beyond reducing landfilling. This is particularly true when looking at life cycle impacts, such as CO2 emissions and Total Material Resource (TMR) consumption. For example, we found that increasing the average use of non-consumable items by just 16% can result in CO2 reductions that would exceed the Scope 2 emissions of even the largest retailers.

If you're attending RSECC this week, I hope you'll join us on Friday, September 30th at 8am to explore these and other ideas in detail and perhaps uncover opportunities to bring the circular economy to life in the retail industry. Our purpose at Stuffstr is to help create a world where there is no unused stuff. We hope to share what we've learned in building our company and also learn from some of the top experts in sustainability in retail.

--John Atcheson and Steve Gutmann