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How Circular Design helped me start this company

Karen Hartman

Posted on July 22 2019

 "In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."  -Albert Camus

 

Did you know that I had a serious existential crisis when I was trying to decide on whether or not to do another jewelry line?

At the time, I was living in Shanghai and working with factories.  Every day I was confronted with either unfair working conditions or serious environmental pollution. I would bike my son to pre-school and we would both be wearing masks because of the bad air. Yep they sell baby sized masks in China.

Through all of the business of Shanghai and the demands of everyday life, my mind would escape and show me visions of beautiful women, wearing beautiful jewelry doing amazing things- always in motion.

As a lifelong creative, I know the hazards you face when your Muse starts talking and you fail to listen. It's a serious thing to ignore. I'm not joking when I say a bit of your soul is on the line.

My problem was I had no idea how to reconcile wanting to make beautiful things with leaving the planet in a better state for my kids. But I knew that if I did not follow through on this dream, I would not be doing my life's work.

And so I struggled, and struggled. Did I mention that I struggled?

When I discovered Circular Design Philosophy, everything clicked into place in a way that made me excited to move forward in a spirit of service to this world.

It's a simple idea: Waste and pollution are designed out of the system, leaving only “resources” which are kept in a loop or returned to the earth in a regenerative way.

The resource used in our jewelry, (in our case recycled stainless steel) is designed in a way that allows it to be endlessly recycled.  This why we don’t use stones because they would need to be pulled out before the piece could be recycled. The other resources we use are cotton for our jewelry pouches and paper for our packaging. Both of these can be composted or recycled.

At the end of your jewelry’s  life, you can send it back to us for a credit towards a new pair. We will either recycle them so the metal can be turned into a new product or refurbish them, keeping the resources in a closed loop. Email us at closetheloop@astorandorion.com to initiate a return.

Getting the entirety of our economy on this system is going to be a massive undertaking, especially because most people have never heard of the Circle Economy. But I hope that your experience with something as simple as a pair of earrings will show you that it is possible to build a beautiful future where waste and exploitation are history.

And once you know something can be done, I hope you will be inspired to look for more ways to help build the Circular Economy and become an advocate for change we all desperately need.  

 

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