What is the circular economy and why does it matter?

We often use circles to describe something whole or never-ending. The circle of life. Running in circles. Spoken like a true Dundonian, you might even refer to a roundabout as a circle. At Albacom, circles have become commonplace in our vocabulary through our growing interest in the circular economy.

There are 3.5 million tons of waste produced across the world every day. The way we consume is under a microscope in ways we have never seen before. Research suggests that now is the time to take action to protect our natural resources, and our budgets.

At present, the go-to system when manufacturing is described as the linear economy where we take, make, and waste. We take resources, manufacture goods and buy products. When those products become dated or break, we throw them away. This system is not only expensive, it is having a catastrophic effect on our environment.

The circular economy is at the forefront of rethinking how we create and consume. It is an economic system that aims to eradicate waste through the continual reuse and repurposing of resources. The circular economy model creates a closed-loop system where once a resource is in use, it stays in the manufacturing and consumption cycle for as long as possible. Its philosophy is parallel to the linear economy as it aims to make, use and then remake again.

There are some key steps that a business can take to become circular, these include:

  • Designing products that are built to last
  • Preserve and extend what already exists
  • Use waste as a resource.

Albacom’s activity within the circular economy falls into the preserve and extend category. We already deliver several services that could be described as circular. We offer refurbishment, repair and rewinding of commercial and industrial electric motors and downhole drilling renovation we provide longevity to offshore drilling equipment, increasing its lifespan several times over.

We continue to explore ways to further develop our surface engineering capacity by offering additional coating techniques and treatments to prolong the time between repairs on drilling equipment. Adding this service would be a win-win for both the environment and our customer’s bottom line.

As ambassadors for Circular Tayside, we are collaborating with other local businesses to share our knowledge and gain further insight into circular processes. Vaso Makri, Circular Tayside Manager, has commented on Albacom’s efforts to establish a place within the circular economy, she said: “We are always looking for pioneers and innovators in Scotland. If a small local business such as Albacom can become more circular, it would set a great example for others.”

 

Albacom CEO Jim Davidson added: “Manufacturing plays a vital role in the Scottish economy. Recent years have posed many challenges for this sector and businesses must consider how to allocate limited budgets without compromising quality. The circular approach encourages businesses to repair and maintain rather than replace. In the current situation where resources are scarce and budgets are scrutinised, I’m proud that Albacom is ready to use our expertise in high-quality repair and refurbishment of tools at our bespoke machining facility in Dundee.”

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