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The Issue

​Reuse in a Circular Economy

Reuse is a key element of a new circular economy for Canada, involving producers, retailers, and consumers.  The dominant linear economy guides materials through supply chains assuming they have only one intended use before they end up in a landfill. In a circular economy, this situation is avoided by designing waste and pollution out at the front end, systems are developed to keep products and materials in use, and the intent is to regenerate natural systems. 

The Circular Economy Technical Cycle

Reuse Business Models Growing in Canada

Reuse is happening across sectors in Canada, from food packaging to textiles to furniture and appliances. Reuse business models range from the new and innovative to the long-established and familiar. Learn here about the variety of reuse business models growing across Canada.

Charities and thrift stores play an essential role in the reuse economy, mainly for textiles and household goods such as appliances and furniture. Well-known examples of this model in Canada are The Salvation Army, Goodwill, and Value Village. Many online services are now also facilitating the resale of these goods by individuals such as Craigslist, Etsy, and Facebook Marketplace.

Some organizations and charities, such as Habitat for Humanity ReStore, accept and resell used building materials. Deconstruction, instead of demolition, aids in this process by preserving used building materials in a state fit for reuse.

The reuse of electronics in Canada is being pioneered by charities, refurbishment businesses, and electronics retailers. This model includes buying or accepting electronics donations, repairing, and reselling items such as personal computers and cellular phones. Examples include reBOOT Canada, Computers for Schools, and Telus' Bring-It-Back and Mobility for Good programs.

Refilleries are a retail business model where products, such as bulk food or personal and household care products, are sold via dispensing devices and consumers use their own containers to store/carry their products. As of 2021, there are over 100 refilleries in Canada.

Reusable packaging services provide reusable packaging to retailers, hotels, restaurants, and cafes, retrieve and clean the packaging from consumers, and provide the packaging back to businesses afterward for reuse. Companies providing this service in Canada include Loop, Friendlier, ShareWares, and 

The Watse Hierarchy

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