The Circular Economy Benefits Communities
The circular economy is a sustainability-driven approach that emphasizes resource conservation, waste reduction, and the continuous use of materials in a closed-loop system. One of the promising avenues for advancing circular economy principles is through private-public partnerships. Explore the potential of these partnerships, their benefits, and how they can be applied specifically between a school and a large local business to promote a sustainable circular flow economy.
The Circular Economy Advantage: The Linear Vs. Circular Economy
The circular economy framework centers around the idea of reducing waste, reusing materials, and recycling resources. This approach provides several advantages, such as environmental sustainability, cost savings, and resource efficiency.
We are currently in what is considered a linear economy model. The current economy model follows a material from start to finish. The material is used in production, placed on the market, used, and thrown away. Once the material has “completed its lifecycle in the current model, it ends up in a landfill.
When looking at a circular vs. linear economy, we are most concerned with the endpoint of the material. In a liner model, the material always ends up in the trash which contributes to our overall planetary waste and carbon emissions. In a circular flow economy, once those materials are produced, they are placed on the market, bought and used, and then placed back on the market either for reuse or to be repurposed. This economy model naturally reduces the amount of waste in landfills, but also, the carbon emissions produced in initial production, mining of materials, and even in transporting goods.
The circular model of economy can be applied in various situations, between countless organizations. One key application of circular economy principles is through partnerships between schools and large local businesses.
Private-Public Partnerships in Education
Few are aware of the ins and outs of public education, and fewer are aware of just how underfunded public education in the United States is. According to The Century Foundation, we are underfunding our “K-12 public schools by nearly $150 billion annually, robbing more than 30 million school children of the resources they need to succeed in the classroom.”
Aravenda conducted a survey in the Hazelwood School District, located in St. Louis Missouri. Out of 1oo surveyed teachers, no teachers had received a new desk or chair throughout their time with the school district. Their tenures ranged from 3-26 years. Teachers are often the most overlooked members of the education system, being asked to supplement the lack of resources in their classrooms with their own funds. Because of the inherent gap in funding in public education, and the need for resources and materials, there is a great opportunity for local public-private partnerships between districts and local businesses.
In addition to budget restraints, schools lack invaluable resources. Meanwhile, large local businesses frequently have surplus office supplies, electronics, and furniture that are no longer in use. This is especially true after COVID-19 and the shift from in-person office work to remote and hybrid work. Here lies a great opportunity to partner with these businesses with schools to reallocate secondhand items that are still in good condition, saving money, reducing waste, and most importantly, supporting the teachers that work so hard to educate our youth.
Large businesses, as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, aim to reduce their environmental footprint and contribute to local communities. Partnering with schools to redistribute surplus resources aligns with their sustainability goals and strengthens their ties to the community. Aravenda provides an affordable solution that allows companies to reduce their carbon emissions on a massive scale. There is no need for companies to spend premium prices in order to reach their carbon ESG goals. Aravenda makes sustainability simple. Learn more about how Aravenda can play a lead role in your sustainability goals and set your company up as a leader in reducing carbon emissions.
Circular economy partnerships in education can significantly reduce waste and the environmental impact of resource disposal. Instead of discarding usable items, these materials find new life in classrooms, benefiting teachers, students, and the environment.
Such partnerships can also provide valuable learning opportunities for students. They can learn about sustainability, resource conservation, and the importance of responsible consumption through real-world examples.
Local Community Benefits:
Circular economy initiatives in schools not only improve resource efficiency but also foster a sense of community. Large local businesses actively participating in these initiatives demonstrate their commitment to the local area and its residents.
Partnering with schools to reallocate unused supplies provides businesses with a philanthropic edge. Large local companies can demonstrate their commitment to the community by supporting education through surplus resource donations. This not only helps schools save resources but also aligns with businesses’ corporate social responsibility goals, showcasing their dedication to sustainability and local well-being. Such initiatives foster a stronger sense of community and social responsibility for businesses, enhancing their philanthropic image in the eyes of the public.
Funding and Support for Recommerce Solutions
For circular economy projects involving schools and businesses, funding and support can be sourced from multiple avenues. Large local businesses can play a significant philanthropic role by offering funding or resources for educational initiatives that promote the circular economy.
Importantly, this support need not entail an additional burden on the donating companies; it can simply involve the donation of surplus office supplies, electronics, and furniture that are no longer in use. By reallocating these resources to schools, businesses can make a meaningful impact without the need for profit, demonstrating their commitment to environmental sustainability and the betterment of the local community.
CSR programs can be harnessed to bolster circular economy projects in schools, showcasing a dedication to sustainability and community development. Local philanthropists and community organizations also have a crucial role to play in contributing to these projects, emphasizing the collaborative effort involved in fostering resource conservation and reducing waste.
Such partnerships demonstrate that the circular economy is not solely about profit but also encompasses philanthropic and community-focused efforts, making a substantial difference to the recipients and the environment.
Promoting Sustainability through School-Business Circular Partnerships
Private-public partnerships between schools and large local businesses offer a valuable opportunity to promote the circular economy. These collaborations not only benefit schools in terms of resource access and cost savings but also contribute to businesses’ sustainability goals and the broader community. As circular economy principles continue to gain momentum, such partnerships play a pivotal role in fostering resource conservation, reducing waste, and creating a more sustainable future for both education and local businesses.
Meet Ellie, our esteemed team member who joined Aravenda in March 2023. With a background as the Marketing Director of a local wedding venue in Missouri, Ellie brings a wealth of experience in marketing strategy and execution. Prior to that, she honed her skills by working with small businesses, focusing on small business website design and brand development. Today, Ellie leads our dedicated marketing team, driving our clients’ success through user experience and digital marketing expertise. Her passion for creating impactful campaigns and delivering exceptional results makes her an invaluable asset to our organization.