Location
Czechia

Episode#18 Prague: "Circular Economy is a Mindset"

Guests: Vojtech Vosecky, chairman of the Steering Group for Circular Economy in Prague

 

Find transcript here


Summaries of Key Takeaways:

  • Circular Economy as a Mindset: Emphasizes the philosophical and strategic application of circular economy principles in various sectors, including city planning and business.
  • Challenges of Implementing Circular Solutions: Discusses the difficulties in shifting towards a circular economy, including overcoming greenwashing and the need for standards in biodegradable materials.
  • Collaboration Across Europe: Highlights the collaborative yet competitive nature of European cities in adopting circular economy practices.
  • Reuse Sundays in Prague: Focuses on a successful community-based swap initiative, illustrating the practical application of circular economy principles at a local level.
  • Importance of Political Support and Smart Procurement: Addresses the critical role of political backing and the use of procurement as tools to advance circular economy initiatives.

 

“To you, what is a Smart City?”:

Vojtech Vosecky: “Smart city to me is a city that doesn't waste its potential, doesn't waste the time of its, uh, citizens on unnecessary tasks or unnecessary, you know, travel distances and so on. But it's a city that works for everyone efficiently, um, and in harmony with, you know, uh, technologies, the people living in it and the environment as well.” 

 

Highlights:

  • Embracing circular economy goes beyond a mere concept: it requires adopting  a new mindset

"Circular economy is a mindset, it's a philosophy, but it can be a business strategy. It's all about not producing waste and making sure that the resources flow in perpetual loops without the loss of quality. It's not just about recycling, but also about rethinking how we design products, how we use materials, and how we manage resources throughout their entire lifecycle. It requires a shift in perspective and a holistic approach to sustainability. When we embrace circular economy principles, we can create regenerative systems that promote resource efficiency, reduce environmental impact, and unlock new economic opportunities." - Vojtech Vosecky

  • It is important to acknowledge the inherent limitations of a circular world

"There are chemical and physical limits to how circular the human world can be. We will never be a hundred percent circular like nature, but we can get pretty close to it in certain industries. It's important to recognize that achieving a fully circular world is a complex task that requires balancing multiple factors such as technological feasibility, economic viability, and social acceptance. While we should aim for ambitious goals, we should also be realistic about the challenges and trade-offs involved. By focusing on continuous improvement and incremental changes, we can make significant progress towards a more circular economy." - Vojtech Vosecky

  • The relationship between circular economy and capitalism needs to be reexamined and transformed

"The way we have set up capitalism is not healthy for the environment. We need to find alternatives and reevaluate our goals, as focusing on growth as the only indicator of success is not sustainable. Circular economy presents an opportunity to redefine our relationship with resources, redefine value, and redefine what it means to be successful as a society. It requires a shift from the linear 'take-make-dispose' model to a more regenerative and restorative approach. By aligning economic incentives with sustainable practices, we can create a system that rewards circularity, promotes innovation, and safeguards the health of our planet for future generations." - Vojtech Vosecky

  • It is crucial to make circular economy  economically viable  and profitable

"Circular economy needs to be profitable and economically viable. Business models play a crucial role in making circularity work by shifting from selling products to running them as services. It's about creating value not just through the sale of products, but through the provision of ongoing services and the recovery of materials at the end of their life. By designing products with longevity and repairability in mind, by embracing sharing and collaborative consumption models, and by leveraging digital technologies to enable resource tracking and optimization, we can unlock new revenue streams, reduce costs, and drive sustainable growth. It's about finding the right balance between economic prosperity and environmental stewardship." - Vojtech Vosecky