Uploaded by Paul Goodson

Linear and Circular Economy

Story time
Everyday item – an incandescent lightbulb
Once they break, what do we do with them?
But it is the most common appliance we use
Invented at the beginning of the 19th Century – developed over time and could eventually last for
over 1200 hours
One company created long lasting lightbulb in 1901 with carbon filament – it still functions to this
day despite non-stop use of over 1m hours
Advances in technology was bad news for the manufacturers of lightbulbs. Why?
At a meeting in Geneva in 1924, threat to the industry was discussed as (at the time) light bulbs
could last for 2500 hours, and this was increasing
Came to a collective decision to limit the lifespan of a lightbulb to 1000 hours
This is the first known case of ‘planned obsolescence’ – the intentional reduction of a lifespan of a
product in order to drive its sales
We still have this in our world today as part of the ‘linear economy’ – take a raw material, make it
into something worth more value, dispose of it when useless
This economy is not sustainable for our global ecosystem – so instead of trying to sell more products
– why not try to keep products in use through maintenance and service?
Philips Lighting’s shift from selling light bulbs to offering lighting-as-a-service. In so doing, customers
save money by paying only for the light they use, while ditching the hassle of burnt-out bulb
replacement and disposal as well as navigating system upgrades. This is what is known as the
‘circular economy’. More important, Philips retains control of its products, making it easier to
reclaim valuable materials, while maintaining an ongoing customer relationship. Consumers and the
global ecosystem benefit.