‘Circular economy’ is a term that has become increasingly common lately, a trend that is likely to continue. Although we hear this phrase often, many of us are unsure exactly what it means.
To companies and entrepreneurs, the methods of a circular economy are an access point to sustainable development, the goal of which is to maximise production efficiency. In practice, this entails the full use of, for example, production materials. Instead of producing waste, they would be continually used and circulate in a closed loop.
For the past couple of months, encouraging small- and medium-sized businesses to get involved in a circular economy has been a central activity for the Moravian-Silesian Regional Chamber of Commerce (MSR CC).
‘Our main goal is to connect companies with institutions that have the potential to proliferate circularity and aid “green projects” within the region. We make use of examples in circular processes to inspire companies. At our educational events, we offer specific examples of how another business’ waste can be used to produce profitable products. These events serve to provide companies with ideas and contacts for institutions and partners for potential cooperation’, Natálie Šitavancová, MSR CC director, describes.
Firms in the MS Region can make use of a plethora of different strategic projects to greatly aid them in the application of circular procedures. One such project is the CirkArena, a research and development centre aimed at focusing excellent science and innovation teams on circular methods. ‘The project’s focal point will be the research of waste and its reuse, with extra emphasis on waste specific to the MS Region (including spoil tips, dust and slag), biowaste, and construction waste. It will be a bridge between our technology and knowledge bases, helping to accelerate research, development, innovation and education in the circular economy’, David Sventek, from BeePartner, specifies.
As part of the advisory Enterprise Europe Network, which consists of almost 600 partners from more than fifty countries, the MSR CC offers a free search for partners involved in the circular economy. This service also allows Czech companies to join projects hosted by other businesses, as well as offer their own products or services.
Trafin Oil, a company that produces second-generation biofuel from used cooking oil, was a great inspiration to attendees of the last MSR CC seminar on circular economics that took place on 2 June 2022. They make use of recycled, purified, edible oils and fats, collectively referred to as UCO (unused cooking oil), and most often used as the bicomponent naphtha. It is also used in the production of aviation biofuels. In comparison with other forms of waste, UCO boasts the largest CO2 saving, as much as 92%.
‘Acquiring UCO is not easy; half of our job is searching for new sources, which usually include gastronomic facilities, homes, biodegradable waste and grease traps. Another benefit of our work is that we decrease the burden of oil in our sewer systems’, Jan Hába, director of Trafin Oil, notes.
Not only is it socially responsible for companies to implement circular business models in their production methods and services, thereby saving limited natural resources and minimising their carbon footprint, but many firms have also found this practice to be profitable, as well.