A Circular Economy and Seaford

What is a Circular Economy?

A circular economy is a principle for looking at how we produce and use the things we want or need that doesn’t produce waste:

  • Designing products to be long-lasting, reusable, repairable, and recyclable.
  • Creating ways to keep unwanted items in circulation.
  • Breaking down and re-using materials, preventing waste.
  • Running our economy in an environmentally friendly way, providing local jobs and healthier lifestyles.

Why do we need to change?

We are consuming more than we need and creating too much waste! – using almost twice the earth’s resources than can be regenerated each year.

Scientists from the Global Footprint Network calculate the day when each country has used more resources than can be replenished. This is called Earth Overshoot Day.

Earth Overshoot Day 2022 is 28th July. It is becoming earlier each year.

The problem with our current system

  • Strips the land of it’s natural resources, taking it away from wildlife and people.
  • Uses energy which creates pollution and greenhouse gases, affecting the local environment and worldwide.
  • Uses much needed local water reserves.
  • Puts more vehicles on the road, in the air and sea carrying deliveries and by people travelling to the shops.
  • Our need to buy more leads us to work more hours, spend more money than we have, leaving us with anxiety, less time and money to do things we may enjoy more.
  • People are suffering horrible working conditions and low pay to meet consumer demand.
  • We’re creating too much waste which is getting more difficult to dispose of.

A circular economy brings benefits to our local communities too. Recent events such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine has shown us that we need to think more about the services and necessities we can provide for ourselves locally. We need to make ourselves resistant to any shocks that could happen.

Really, it’s going back to some of the old ways of doing things. In the past when resources were more expensive and difficult to get hold of, we didn’t want so much and we didn’t waste so much!

This means:

Sharing, hiring, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible.

Volunteers at the Seaford Repair Cafe

The Benefits of a Circular Economy

  • More money and resources kept within the local community.
  • Creates less waste and pollution.
  • Reduces the demand for land that can be given back to nature.
  • If we buy better quality goods and know how to fix them, they last longer.
  • Provides local jobs in collecting, storing, repairing, upcycling, redistributing.
  • Hiring things that you need occasionally saves money in the long run and frees up storage space in your home.

A library of things

  • Using local services builds a strong community.
  • Secondhand costs less and can be better quality than what you can buy new.
  • Learning how to fix things saves money and teaches new skills.
  • If we can recirculate the resources we have in a small area, we are resistant to shocks further afield that can affect supply chains.
  • Regulations or scarcity are eventually going to cause resources to become more expensive. We need to put a local circular economy in place so this doesn’t cause more problems in the future.

Ideas for a local circular economy

  • A builders yard for recycled or surplus building materials – 51% waste in the South East is building waste. Much of this could be reused.
  • More farms, community farms and urban agriculture companies providing food locally.
  • Community compost and wood chips – compost is expensive. Is shipped around the country and the world. We produce enough green waste to make and distribute our own local compost and wood chips.
  • Shops selling upcycled local furniture and household items.

  • Repair shops and repair cafes.
  • Hire shops and library of things.
  • Existing shops could sell secondhand items alongside new. This provides jobs and skills in cleaning, upcycling, selling, sourcing.
  • Stores or libraries that buy and sell secondhand items that are not needed for long – school uniform, sports clothes and equipment, DIY tools, holiday clothes and equipment, baby items, toys.
  • Secondhand, upcycled bikes and bike maintenance workshops.
  • Locally grown vegetables, community farms and local greengrocers.
  • Car club / hire.
  • Cheap and efficient public transport.
  • Community energy. Visit www.ovesco.co.uk to find out more.

  • Resource centre for useful bits and bobs, resources for schools and community groups.
  • Food businesses using reusables – creates local jobs, saves waste from throwaway packaging which is going to become more expensive.
  • Cafes sharing reusable mugs so people can drop off at the next cafe on their walk, or encourage people to sit at the cafe with their reusable crockery.
  • Skills colleges or workshops.
  • A community cookery school.
  • Community gardens to provide food, promote good health and wellbeing, share skills including food growing and to combat loneliness.

Seaford Community Garden.

The True Cost of our Food

The Sustainable Food Trust published this report which says that for every £1 we spend on food, we spend another £1 in hidden ways – taxes, water charges, our health and degradation to our planet.

The true cost accounting of our food.

The True Cost of our Clothes

Find out more on The True Cost movie website

Watch the trailer for this eye opening documentary: