Fellow leading the way on the Circular Economy - RSA

Fellows leading the way on the Circular Economy

Fellowship news 1 Comments

  • Circular economy
  • Manufacturing
  • Social enterprise
  • Sustainability
  • Communities
  • Community engagement
  • Environment
  • Fellowship

Forgot to make a New Year's resolution this year? How about a diet with a twist - it's not for your waistline, but your bin. 

RSA Fellow Katy Anderson is leading the way by showing communities across the UK how to revolutionise their recycling habits and have fun by starting 2015 on The Rubbish Diet.

Take a few moments and try to imagine a world where no one needs to throw anything away. How would it impact your life? Likely you’d save on both time and money, but what about the wider implications – the collective change in values and behaviour that could occur if everyone thought more creatively about how to recycle and share resources with others living close by? 

The RSA believes that the current economic and environmental challenges of a ‘take-make-dispose’ approach to manufacturing are becoming increasingly apparent. As an organisation, we are invested in seizing opportunities to change current systems, but the principal challenge, as always, is how – how do we get everyone to work together when the obstacles loom and the stakes are high?

The first step is to share knowledge, and The RSA Great Recovery programme has begun to do this by building new networks to explore the issues and barriers in depth, investigate innovation gaps, and incubate new partnerships.

Forging links and fostering meaningful discussion is critical, but so is action, and RSA Fellows are ideally placed to take conceptual ideals and turn them into something practical. One such Fellow is Katy Anderson from social enterprise Cwm Harry, who by virtue of her passion for a sharing economy has created an innovative community initiative called The Rubbish Diet. 

The brilliance of this project is that it understands how barriers to social change are very often reflected in the barriers to personal change that we all experience from time to time. This is why the idea of a diet works so well; it tackles the psychology of forming habits by taking traditional diet methodology and applying it to recycling. You decide your goal and make small changes until your bin is slim.

Crucially, The Rubbish Diet provides a structure and keeps participants motivated by encouraging group diets, sharing tips amongst the community, and showing you the difference your efforts are making.

It's easy to start, you'll be well supported and if you choose to do it with your neighbours you might even make some new friends. Katy would like to challenge Fellows across the UK to take the plunge this year and see how much you can slim your bin!

In addition, the team will be running a workshop at the Resource Event 2 – 3.30 on Thursday 5 March. The workshop will tackle the challenge of how we engage people in the circular economy.  Participants will map out the role of designers, manufacturers, retailers and citizens in closing the loop on packaging, identifying solutions that will make the value of the circular economy more real to the public.


Find out more about the Rubbish Diet


Explore The Great Recovery


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  • Yep I am attempting this myself - I would like to be able to do away with a fridge ( I feel that fridges and freezers encourage over consumption) - I also don't consume bread or butter unless I am willing to make both ( this is a great psychological approach to managing diet,rubbish and purse, first barrier is limited income to be about to shop fresh, variety everyday. I get easily bored being an ex-chef and love to cook for myself but also like to eat out, to be waited on and I get cravings for particular foodstuffs. I find that I 'panic' when food buying 'cos I think yeah i'll make this and that, haven't had it for ages and then get stuck with expense and leftovers. Also trying to be very conscious about the energy cooking a dish will also take. Let you know how I get on this month! Last two months have not been a success - but I have reduced my rubbish by half over past year. Another element for consideration is to make sure the nutritional content is satisfactory and also 'treats' are included. Due to my passion for 'Slow Food' I have also limited the content of meat and fish in my diet.