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Canadians send more than 12 million tonnes of clothing and textiles into the waste stream every year – and that’s not a good look. As we shop, scroll, swipe, one-click-ship, like-to-buy and pre-order our way through life, it’s easy to forget that every single “new” purchase is part of the problem. Because, “What’s one more t-shirt?” Well, it takes 2,650 litres of water to make that shirt. “A new pair of jeans?” Add 6,800 litres more. Consumers are addicted to consumption without giving thought to the impact their apparel purchasing behaviours have on the planet.

This Policy Brief is the first in a Smart Prosperity Institute series on the circular economy and Canada. It is an introduction to the circular economy concepts and landscape, written for both government and business audiences. It provides a foundation in the key concepts of the circular economy (section 2), including a look at how these fit with the Clean Growth model that is the focus of present Canadian efforts to shift to

a more environmentally sustainable economy (Box 1, the topic for a future Brief in this series).

In March 2018 RCO co-hosted a workshop with Toronto to demonstrate how procurement links with the circular economy and waste reduction through engaging presentations and sector case studies, as well as other opportunities:

  • variety of workshop exercises on procurement
  • examination of roadmaps that integrate circular economy principles into procurement
  • evidence of benefits and learn how to quantify them in economic, social, and environmental terms
  • how resource efficiency and circularity can be delivered in practic

Now is the most exhilarating time to be an innovator.

You might be questioning the health of our organisations, social systems, and business models. With good reason: companies are currently deeply rooted in a linear approach to growth - make, use, dispose.

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