An industry workshop hosted by the University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability invites the community to explore the circular economy concept as a sustainable option for Guam.
Adopting a circular economy involves minimizing waste and sustainably using resources while maintaining the quality life of the community.
According to Rajesh Buch, director of sustainability practice and international development at Arizona State University, many global economies operate on a linear system — often described as the take, make, and waste model.
With waste piling up in landfills, many entrepreneurs and communities have adopted or transitioned into a circular economy where waste or byproducts are reimagined as materials that can be put back into the economy for valuable use.
“So many cities in the world now are trying to get into a zero-waste situation. They are defining circular economies as a zero waste condition. So what it boils down to is to have the kind of leadership necessary in a community — governmental leadership and even private-sector leadership that supports that kind of circular system. Having the community, the citizens demanding that kind of system to be put in place,” Buch said.
Amanda Jordan, program coordinator for the Resource Innovation & Solutions Network Incubator at Arizona State University, said the workshop focuses on how circular economies can be leveraged in the context of island communities. And how entrepreneurship can really pave the way for innovation around sustainability concepts.
“But I think it is also important to recognize that — although it has not been labeled a circular economy, island nations and native communities have been doing this for millennia now — especially on the biological side. Taking resources from the earth, using them to create products — whether it is textile or clothing, or food, then putting it back to the system,” Jordan said.
According to the Center for Island Sustainability, the Island Circular Economy Industry Workshop is geared toward small-business owners, entrepreneurs, and intrapreneurs on Guam.