How can we better enable the mindset for a circular economy with a common language?

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I asked GPT-3, Open AI’s AI language model, what it believes the biggest barrier to the circular economy is. Its answer was very straightforward:

The lack of a common language.

To add to this sentiment, I think it’s also very important to highlight how the difference in language, as well as the definitions of terms, has an effect on people’s perceptions.

For example, most people have a good understanding of what the terms “waste” and “resource” mean. But what becomes lost in their individual definitions is the huge overlap of things that fall under both definitions. What may be considered waste to Company A, could be considered a primary resource to Company B.

It’s important to talk about this issue not only for the purpose of creating industry standards but also for a shift in understanding for the general public. If we help people see the potential of everything with a circular mindset, we would all be so much better equipped to help move towards one.

This addressed one of the most important factors in creating a circular economy: enablement.

Should we redefine what the definition of “waste” really means? Or is it a differentiation that’s needed between “waste” in the regular economy vs. “waste” in a circular economy?

How can we better enable the mindset for a circular economy with a common language?

If you’re interested in discussing this, as well as other circular economy-related topics, join our conversations over in our community:

About the author:

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Sarah is our community manager, working closely with partners and community members to help us transition to a circular economy. She also runs our product community for TGW — a free design thinking and innovation platform for tomorrow’s changemakers and entrepreneurs. You can reach out to Sarah via email or come chat with us in our community.

FLF Product Design — designing and launching new ventures and digital products, with a focus on analytics, organizational design and sustainability.

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