Circular Economy Switzerland – Romandie Launch –

an important step into the Zero Waste Future

On 30 August 2019, the Swiss Circular Economy Switzerland (CES) movement officially launched a circular-flow economy in Lausanne. Representatives from innovative start-ups, impact hubs and cross-industry players from politics, business and research exchanged ideas at the event. The movement, which was launched in Basel at the beginning of the year, thus sets a further milestone for a rethink and transformation from a linear to a circular economy in Switzerland.

Thinking and acting circular

For some years now, more and more creative projects and fresh ideas in the field of environmental services have been emerging in Switzerland. Natural resources should be conserved and a circular economy with a value chain should be created with innovative solution-oriented approaches. ZeroWaste Switzerland supports the efforts of the Circular Economy Switzerland movement, which represents an important step towards reducing waste in the economy and society.

However, the circular economy method should not be confused with recycling! For many years, recycling was the only way to protect the environment, but it is actually downcycling, since the material cannot be used indefinitely and is getting worse and worse. An economy in cycles, on the other hand, aims to preserve the value of a raw material, but recycling ultimately leads to a loss of value.

“We have to rethink our way to create” emphasizes Albert Kählin, Founder & CEO of EPEA Switzerland GmbH. Kälin is committed to the Cradle to Cradle principle worldwide and names the challenges and opportunities for a circular-flow economy:

  • the creation of qualified and local jobs
  • to prolong the service life of goods
  • saving water, energy and greenhouse gas emissions
  • significant reduction of waste and wastage
    The cradle to cradle production process and knowledge of the raw materials enables companies to recycle them and thus reduce the negative impact on the environment to a minimum.

Share, Repair & Care

Concrete examples of business models of companies and start-ups that favour the circular economy, such as USM, Pfister, Elite, (recycling of surplus materials), or Shareyoubicar, Share a Look (sharing and lending), show in an inspiring way that there is another way.

A Sharing & Caring Economy means caring for and appreciating raw materials and the environment. To share or pass on things that you don’t need on a daily basis, or don’t need at all, instead of buying or disposing of them. “Caring” means recycling, entertaining, instead of throwing away and wasting. The so-called repair cafés, which can be found in many places, now offer numerous possibilities for repairs. With the support of experts, damaged objects are repaired. This not only extends the service life of a product, but also conserves resources and purses and avoids waste.

The future is “round” – there is a lot going on, innovative approaches and ideas for resource-conserving management and solutions for a circulatory Switzerland are in demand!

But circular thinking is not limited to companies. Xander Kotvis, founder of Revolution Foundation, used this model for the DGTL Festival (Amsterdam), which attracts 45,000 visitors per year. He won the International Greener Festival Award for DGTL (declared the most sustainable festival in the world). “Revolution” continues to test and develop all types of circular and regenerative systems. For example, the festival is powered by renewable energy (wind and solar energy), in the food sector, food is cooked from recovered food, and sorting and collection systems are not called waste management, but resource management – because that’s all that matters!