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What is a digital product passport and its importance to a circular economy?

In our fight against the climate crisis, a transition to a circular economy is our best bet. Read more to find out what kind of tech is needed to make that happen...

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Want to play a game?

Don’t worry, this won’t entail a creepy puppet hell bent on teaching life lessons in death defying challenges à la the Saw movies, but just close your eyes and think. How many phones have you gone through since that giant Nokia brick you first got your hands on (or am I ageing myself with that one?!) How many pieces of tech have come and gone over the years? I shudder to even think about it. But that’s the point of this exercise!

Keep your eyes closed and let’s go further.

How many bottles of shampoo have you used in your lifetime? What about tubes of toothpaste or boxes of laundry detergent? Pots of yogurt or bag of chips? All of those single use water bottles and takeaway containers. For myself, and little family of four – that number is unfathomable. Did you know that in 2019 the U.S. generated about 292 million tons of municipal solid waste according to the Environmental Protection Agency. About 50% was landfilled, 24% recycled, 12% incinerated and 9% composted.

That is a scary percentage.

But don’t worry! This blog isn’t for fear mongering, but a bit of optimism. We all know the scary stats and visions of plastic filled oceans burned into our retinas. It’s obvious that our current linear system where products are just made, used and binned off is not tenable. The obvious solution to our sustainability problem is a transition towards a circular economy.

What exactly is a circular economy?

Glad you asked! 

In a circular economy, products, services and systems are designed to maximize their value and minimize waste. ​It’s an all-encompassing approach to life and business, where everything has value and nothing is wasted. Simply put, it can be explained as ‘make, use, remake’ as opposed to the current system that is wreaking havoc on our environment. There is undeniable evidence that a successful transition to a circular economy would put the world on a path below two degrees by 2032 and help make the world a better place because our valuable resources are being used and reused efficiently.

For this transition to be successful, we need to get down with the DPP, y’all!

How we use this kind of tech at Cube

Digitalization is well and truly all around us – everyday, almost everywhere!

Almost parallel to the evolution of circular economy concepts, digitalization has been affecting more and more areas of lives, both personal and professional. It has become a massive part of everyday life almost everywhere. Brands like Loop and Olio have tapped into the environmental zeitgeist and are offering technology that not only facilitates a circular economy, but makes it easy! People are willing, now more than ever, to adopt technology into their routines in a way that will encourage behaviour change and a more sustainable way of living.

Which is music to our ears!

Here are a couple examples of how we have utilised DPP technology in our apps:

Eumelia

An App to Create a Circular Economy In The Hospitality Sector

Eumelia approached 3 Sided Cube looking for a solution that helps reduce waste in the sector and create this circular economy between suppliers and their consumers.

Read More

Polytag

TRANSFORMING THE WAY THE WORLD RECYCLES

PolyTag approached us with the idea of leveraging technology to create an experience for users that would empower them to improve the way we recycle.

Read More

What does the future hold for a circular economy

The first order of business is to bridge the intention-action gap. The vast majority of us have the intention of living more sustainably, but what we action is another story altogether. Simply put, it refers to the difference between what people say they want to do compared to what they actually do. A great example of this is New Year resolutions. Every year we all make a list of what we plan to do for that particular year, but as the year marches on, we take a look back at that list and realise we have done barely any! 

There are often a load of different barriers that can create this gap; from cost to inconvenience, the challenge is to find ways to help people overcome these barriers and decrease the gap between their intentions and actions. But the great news is that technology is there to break through those barriers!

You can read the finding from our latest report, download below:

Currently, however, the lack of consistent and precise information flow about resources, products, and processes in many cases makes it difficult to quantify circular initiatives. Digitalizing product and process information to cover the entire product life cycle is a challenge that needs to be addressed to close the gap between the concept of circular economy and its practical implementation.

That eventuality sounds like a pipe dream, but great news…Thanks to wonderful companies like Banqu out there utilizing blockchain technology to pull down the curtain and offer complete transparency on the products life-cycle, we are on our way to circularity. 

The technology is there, now is the time for innovation.

We have so much power as individuals. Slight changes to your routine can make a world of difference. Use your voice and wallet to show politicians and brands what kind of legislation you want to see – and most importantly, get ready to get down with DPP!

This is a topic I could well and truly go on about for ages, which is lucky as we have our upcoming ‘Tech For Good Talks’ all about a Circular Economy. We have a fantastic panel lined up, make sure you sign up below and don’t miss out!

Published on June 13, 2022, last updated on June 13, 2022

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