Circulr, like many great sustainability-based companies, was started because the amount of waste created was overwhelming to our founders. Reuse has pros and cons, but when it comes to ensuring that our resources are adequately handled, it stands out as the winner. This idea is the basis of Circulr’s thesis: if we can create a reuse system that is easy to use, we can ensure that ‘waste’ will never again enter our natural environment.
However, for you to really understand Circulr’s Vision for the future and our mission moving forward, we thought we’d define them for you here explicitly.
Vision: Our vision for the next five years is that zero-waste living is the norm for all Canadians
To clarify, this means that all Canadians will have interacted with concepts of zero-waste living and reuse throughout their life. For Circulr, that means bringing reuse to the forefront of how each of us shops regularly.
Purpose: Realizing the full potential of society’s “waste”
We have heard often, and love to repeat, that “waste is only waste if you waste it.”. We often think about this when it comes to Circulr, and it was part of our motivation when establishing the purpose of Circulr. Too often, we think about the things around us as “waste” as soon as we are finished with their main purpose. This mindset, when it comes to packaging, means once a piece of packaging is done being used to house the product it packaged, it is now “waste”. This mindset is often far from the truth. Take the example of a glass jar, we are big fans of reusing that item as many times as possible, but even if it were to be recycled (which unfortunately doesn’t always happen), it could be turned back into sand to replenish beaches that are being depleted, used in construction, or turned back into another jar. However, this is still not an ideal outcome because it requires significant resource consumption that could be avoided by using the jar again in its current format.
What we need today, and what Circulr’s purpose calls on, is the necessity to change mindsets to see everything around us as a resource. Circulr is currently doing this by realizing the full potential of glass packaging.
Mission: Circulr’s mission is to create a global reuse infrastructure built by having communities and brands come together to reduce their waste.
Although most people know us as the folks who work to reuse producer’s glass jars, this is only our starting point. Glass is a low-hanging fruit for us to start a reuse program around since we don’t have to get producers to change their packaging since it is an already reusable format.
We plan to keep expanding this from glass to a whole aisle in the grocery store of reusable items and then eventually to the rest of the grocery store where reuse is the most environmentally friendly option. At that point, whether the packaging is glass, stainless steel, plastic, or something else entirely doesn’t make too much of a difference to us. As long as we can help producers reuse their product packaging, we will be happy.
For us, this is important because there needs to be an infrastructure and platform in place before reuse can live up to its full potential. It can be immensely challenging for one brand to start a reuse program – they would need to get washing sorted out, get their retailers to agree to collect their packaging, manage all of the return logistics, and do all the awareness building themselves. Circulr acts as a unifying force that establishes the system for producers that want to reuse.