Roti, Kapda & Makaan- Where are the best practices for the Food, Textiles and Infrastructure

The three-part series title is taken from the classic 1973 Hindi film, which in English translates as; Food, Clothing and Shelter. The bare necessities of life. Every week for the past year Sreepriya Sreedharan from Circular Business Podcast and Piyush Dhawan from the Circular Collective discuss examples of Circular Economy from across the Globe and analyse whether this would make sense in an emerging economy context. In this three-part series, we have collated examples from our Weekly Gupshup. This week we talk about five examples that are addressing Infrastructure or Makaan (in Hindi).

Venlo City Hall

In 2006, in an effort to evolve its image and economy, the city of Venlo along with the Chamber of Commerce committed to embedding C2C principles into the city’s economic activities. Cradle to Cradle ideology was initiated by German chemist Michael Braungart and US architect William McDonough in the early 2000s. It can be defined as the design and production of products of all types in such a way that at the end of their life, they can be truly recycled (upcycled), imitating nature's cycle with everything either recycled or returned to the earth, directly or indirectly through food, as a completely safe, nontoxic

The new city hall has played a key role in updating the city’s image - traditionally associated with agriculture and logistics, Venlo is now increasingly associated with innovation and circular economy opportunities that are attracting both businesses and skills. The 18-24-year-old city population has increased, as well as the number of companies basing themselves in the city. The city hall has itself received over 32,000 visitors between 2016 and 2018 and the outcomes of the project have led to Venlo making C2C compliance a part of all its future construction projects

Listen to our podcast on Venlo City Hall below


Today brick & mortar stores are slowly losing their charm ever since online platforms have increased the convenience around shopping. Speaking of sustainability, in India Quikr & e-Bay have enabled buyers and sellers to connect seamlessly thereby promoting re-use and re-sale. Hand me downs in clothing were less of a challenge in our country, but when it comes to setting up a house, doing interiors, there is still hesitation amongst consumers due to an equipment’s emotional value attached to it..which eventually leads to hoarding. Then again people prefer buying brand new and so goes on the cycle of life.

ReTuna is the first shopping mall in the world to be entirely devoted to second-hand goods. A title that earned it a place in the Guinness Book of Records in 2020! They are revolutionizing shopping in a climate-smart way. Old items are given new life through repair and upcycling. Everything sold is recycled or reused or has been organically or sustainably produced

Listen to our podcast on ReTuna below

Weekly Gupshup with the Circular Collective These are excerpts from weekly podcast series where Sreepriya and Piyush bring to you amazing examples from around the globe in the circular economy, where India and our citizens can take inspiration from

Urban Mining Company

Texas-based- Urban Mining Company was founded in 2014 with the goal to transform the world’s supply of Neo magnets by developing the fastest, most practical, and cost-competitive path to manufacturing using alternative resources that are not dependent on China and less costly on the environment. Before this, only 1% of rare earth magnets were being reused and they could only be separated through melting/use of powerful chemical solvents. Urban Mining Company has found a sustainable and financially viable way to recycle Rare Earth Elements (REE) from scrap.

Reducing CO2 emissions by 11 tonnes for every tonne of magnet produced and reduced energy consumption by 46% when compared to the traditional way of producing NdFeB magnets. They mine 600,000 tonnes of magnets that are locked inside products a.k.a e-waste that industry and consumers throw away. To set the context, Neo magnets/neodymium magnets have received worldwide attention as they are the strongest magnets known to date. Their high productivity, affordability, energy efficiency and excellent magnetic properties make it an ideal choice for high-technology applications, such as in wind turbines, hybrid and electric vehicles, air conditioning compressors, fans, mobile phones, hard disk drive, and speakers. Neodymium-Nd is the essential component of Neo magnets, while Dysprosium-Dy is added in order to enhance the magnet’s ability to operate at elevated temperatures and to increase the coercive force.

Both Nd and Dy are ‘critical metals’. They are critical because of high global demand, susceptibility to future scarcity, unavailability of substitutes, and low recycling rates. Worse, they have a high demand for use in green energy technologies. Rare earth elements are not as "rare" as their name implies. However, these metals are very difficult to mine because it is unusual to find them in concentrations high enough for economical extraction. Around the world, China’s contribution to REEs has been noteworthy. They dominate the market in its supply at cheap prices.

Listen to our podcast on Urban Mining Company below


Back in 2014, sitting in his laboratory at Northwestern University, something had really started bothering neuroscience student Garry Cooper. On this particular day, it was not about the nature of consciousness, how memories are stored or similar matters that usually occupy neuroscientists. It was a much more practical, down to earth question. How to reconcile the lack of funding in university research departments against the great volumes of unused equipment and waste generated by these same departments.

Determined to respond to his observation with practical action, Garry persuaded the managers of his resource-rich neuroscience faculty to allow him to collect labware, machines, shelving, and other stuff that was not being used. He then loaded it onto a trolley and distributed it to less well-off departments in his university that needed the equipment. This trolley service became a regular Friday afternoon ritual for Garry. In the last few years of his PhD, he redistributed 55 items, ranging from antibodies and glassware to research equipment, saving labs across the campus more than USD25,000 and keeping those resources out of landfills.

Rheaply is an asset exchange platform that drives the visibility on stuff, across all of a client’s sites, enabling the transfer of idle equipment either within or outside an organisation. If a piece of equipment is not being used, a Rheaply user can quickly and easily find the asset on the platform from a device of their choice, and post items to another laboratory, faculty, building or different part of the campus.

Check out how Rheaply has created a profitable business model and many jobs through proven cost savings for businesses, academic organisations, and other large asset owners.

Listen to our podcast on Rheaply below

About the Author

Piyush Dhawan (LinkedIn) is the co-founder of the Circular Collective was awarded the prestigious German Chancellor Fellowship last year to work on the topic of Circular Economy. He has for the past decade been working with Bilaterals and Multilaterals on a range of topics including business and biodiversity, Vision 2030 SDGs and Future of Indian Cities.

Sreepriya Sridharan (LinkedIn) She is your host & dost @Circular Business Podcast, a series that gives you a unique perspective on the circular economy from the Indian context. Inspired by the Friday’s For Future movement, in August 2020, amidst the pandemic uncertainties, she chose to be an environmentally conscious citizen and has dedicated her life to making this planet a better place every day. Circular economy wooed her and resonated with her so much that her deep dive into research around this topic made her want to share its possibilities with other seekers who are on a similar journey, in a way creating a bridge to make their leap faster. She is your go-to person for creating a convincing pitch for your eco-conscious business. Storytelling, finding solutions and building a network of an impact-driven community is her arsenal for change.


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