Soon it is going to happen. One of the days we have been looking forward to for a long time is arriving very soon. The day is about not celebrating overconsumption, our throwaway society nor Black Friday. It’s exactly the alternative. It is about showing that consumption is not bad per se, but a certain way of consumption. This bad consumption behavior is unfortunately still supported and pursued by too many companies. That is why Circular Monday is so important, it reveals alternative options. It’s a bit like when you finally find the light switch in the dark. This obviously makes it easier to find your way around. Circular Monday should initially flip the switch and focus on a problem. And we want to make it easier for you to find sustainable consumer products so that you can make conscious purchasing decisions.
What makes it so opaque in the linear economy?
One of the biggest problems is that the price you can see for products very rarely includes the total cost for our planet and ultimately for our society. Products are not made with the goal of longevity and recyclability. Because you should, first of all, spend your money on them. For example, many rare earth elements are contained in electrical devices today. These are mainly mined in China. Excessive production creates waste products and toxic waste water, which often pollute the groundwater. Since our environment cannot be broken down into individual parts, nobody feels responsible. Therefore, there is not enough sense of responsibility for the effects. No matter whether in China or here with us. Overall, products are often thought far too short and should above all satisfy our hunger for more and more.
There is also a similar problem with metals. Just because it appears to be the easier way at first, metals such as copper are still mined from the earth through high energy expenditure. We use a lot of resources with our modern, linear, technology-oriented lifestyle. This is problematic because the reserves in the high-quality warehouses, where the metals can be mined more easily, are steadily decreasing. The rock of the low-value deposits sometimes only has a metal content of one percent and is still being mined.
How about instead processing the approximately 1.8 tons of electronic waste that accrue from our consumption anyway? About ten tons of copper can be extracted from ten to 14 tons of electronic waste. For the same amount, you would have to mine 1,000 tons of rock in a mine. Nevertheless, less than half of the electronic waste is recycled in Europe.
So you can say: At the moment we prefer to eat our way through stone rather than think strategically about designing our products in such a way that our earth is polluted as little as possible.
These were examples of natural resources used in technological devices. Electrical appliances in particular are heavily advertised on Black Friday. The second category that the linear economy is supposed to bring to the people in immense quantities on Black Friday is clothing.
In the textile industry, apart from natural resources, another resource is often also used to excess. The social resources or in other words: the labor force of the people. The workforce of women is often exploited, in some cases, it is even worse and children are part of the workforce as well. Many work for very low wages and are sometimes exposed to toxic chemicals. This came to light with the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory six years ago. But the conditions have still not improved significantly.
The limits of the resilience of our planet and the people who inhabit it will certainly not be spoken about by companies on Black Friday. We want to bring change with the Circular Monday.
What alternatives does the circular economy offer?
The circular economy is about sharing, renting, repairing, borrowing, upcycling, redesigning and recycling. It is the new way of producing and consuming things. The Circular Mondays focuses on three strategies: reuse, repair and rent. So reuse, repair and rent. These are all strategies aimed at increasing the benefits of products. On the one hand, the lifespan is increased when a product is repaired. On the other hand, lending a product makes more people happy than the linear economy actually aims for.
For conventional companies, it is primarily more important to generate as many customers as possible who buy their products. In this way of thinking, a product that is used by several people at the same time, when in doubt, is a product that is sold less often and is less profitable. That’s why nobody tells you on Black Friday that you can first ask friends if they don’t already have something similar and maybe don’t need it. Neither does anybody tell you, you could try to find a craftsman who might save your electrical device from the scrap heap for a few more years. Nobody tells you to buy your product second-hand, because with second-hand society naturally profits more than a single company.
Neither will one communicate that you can take the time to make the right purchase decision.
The pressure generated on Black Friday makes it so much harder to break away from an ego-centered perspective and take a broader view. Because you have to make your decision on this very day, when there are still extra percentages. Your decision should only satisfy your need for that one thing that will make your life more fulfilling in no time. Your decision is ultimately all about whether you get it now or right now. Not about whether the planet or other people could also be affected.
We don’t want to tell you whether you buy something on Black Friday or not and don’t encourage you to spend your money on Circular Monday. Some buddies create discount codes. Because sometimes you have to use the already known behaviors to be able to break out of old patterns at all. We think that consuming nothing at all is not always an option. That’s why we want to make it as easy as possible for you to consume more consciously. Consuming more consciously sometimes means taking more time to make a decision. Sometimes it means looking for alternative options. And sometimes it means consuming things in a different way than what you’re used to.
We want you to take the time and awareness to make balanced consumer decisions.
That means that you choose with heart and mind the things that you use in your life. Take your time to think about what is right and important for you in a product. How do you use this product and who other than yourself is influenced by the use?
We want to give you the strategies of the circular economy to enable holistic decisions about the material things in your life. That’s why Circular Monday is the Monday before Black Friday. We want to be present before the day of mass consumption. To remind you of alternative options and to spread the message reuse, repair and rent. Let yourself be inspired and discover holistic and exciting new concepts to manufacture, make available, and maintain their lifespan.
“A circular economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, maintaining products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.” (Ellen McArthur Foundation)
The organizations, companies, and influencers participating in Circular Monday are aware that they are actively shaping society. They go day in and day out to challenge companies in a circular direction. They believe that this way of doing business offers long-term, social, ecological and added value.
Their energy and design options are used to swim against the current. We think this is worth supporting because if enough weight and momentum comes from these people, it has repercussions for linear companies. If you choose a product or service from a company that officially participates in Circular Monday, you can be sure that they base their actions on sustainability principles.
But still, whether you really need this article, only you can weigh yourself.
What good is it to have beautiful things in an uninhabitable world?
Additional note: Circular Monday was previously known as White Monday. The Black Friday counter-initiative was renamed for various reasons.