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Circular Wonderings

Hi, I’m Barry. I founded HappyPorch in 2015 and I’m excited about the Circular Economy.

I believe that we (me, you, HappyPorch and society in general) need to do more than react to climate change and loss of biodiversity and all the other issues caused by our waste. Rather, we need to find ways to solve those issues AND improve life on our planet. There is a chance that, with Circular Economy approaches, we can contribute to these regenerative solutions.

Circular Wonderings is an exploration of the role of digital, software and technology in the Circular Economy. Exploration is the key word here. I write regularly, reflecting on my current thoughts and research. Expect typos, incomplete thoughts, varied rambling topics and (hopefully) a journey towards clearer understanding and insight.

This is a long and difficult journey! But it is, I think, a road worth travelling.

To join me on this journey subscribe to receive daily (yes daily!) emails. I'd love to hear your thoughts or feedback, just subscribe and reply to any email.

Archive

Gold in them thar... waste

"A smartphone is made up of 62 different metals and metalloids, which all contribute to essential components of a device. In order to obtain these precious metals and produce a single smartphone, 34kg of ore needs to be mined, using 100 litres of water and 20.5g of cyanide." [1] In our prevailing linear economy the assumption is that every single gram is used once, and then thr ...

My hands are full

A software engineer goes to the bar to collect a round of drinks. The barman, seeing them struggle to carry all the drinks, asks: "Would you like a tray"? They reply: "no thanks, I have enough to carry already". This is currently my third favourite joke. (Numbers one and two involve parrots and tractors respectively.) Like a lot of humour, it pokes fun at something that is very ...

Whats half a hole?

My mum enjoys wordplay. I may have inherited that a little... Here is one of her favourites: "If it takes a man and a half a day and a half to dig a hole and a half. How long does it take to dig a hole?" This fun to say. Yet word play is more than silly fun. It is an insight into linguistics, culture and human psychology. This specific question is also an insight into one of th ...

Animated Circular Economy

I enjoyed this little (6min) explainer video: "Circular Economy: definition & examples" [1] He touches on many (though not all) of the core concepts and gives some great examples. Plus it's fun. ...

Learning style myths

Did you know that Auditory and Visual learning styles is a myth?  The myth is that we each have a dominant learning style, either visual or kinesthetic or auditory. However, all the scientific evidence points towards this just not being true. [1] [2] "Nearly all of the studies that purport to provide evidence for learning styles fail to satisfy key criteria for scientific valid ...

No panacea

Is the Circular Economy a panacea? No4. Within the Circular Economy, is the "as a service"5 model a panacea? No. With their air conditioning as a service, Kaer are championing in the world of large, fixed industrial machinery a model which is very common in software and IT. One of the interesting outcomes from this is the opportunity to closer align the goals of supplier and cu ...

Air-conditioning as a Service?

Circular Economy thinking opens opportunities to change business models. One of my favourite examples of this is Kaer1, "Air-conditioning as a Service". Large air conditioning (think shopping centres or industrial parks) involves a big capital outlay and then running and maintenance costs. This means that, if you are responsible fo a large building, you need to pay up front for ...

Just Transition

We talk about the need for a 'transition' to a Circular Economy. The Circular Economy can play an essential role in tackling climate change[1] and is an obvious path to helping to solve our waste problems. There is the potential to do more than tackle the negatives, to move to regeneration while stimulating business innovation. So, the opportunity in that transition is clear an ...

Circular Passports

The Materials Passport[1] or Resources Passport[2] is one of the core concepts behind digitisation of the physical world, in order to enable circularity. The starting point for this concept is "is a document consisting of all the materials that are included in a product ... which give them value for recovery, recycling and re-use". [1] There is much more potential to the idea t ...