Laughing dog

Eight Big Circular Economy Relevant Laughs

circular economy Dec 21, 2022

I reckon it’s about time for a work related chuckle to get through the finish line.

The following is a collection of favourite side-splitting clips relevant to the circular economy with a little musing from yours truly, of course.

If you’re not someone who indulges in comedy regularly, be warned these are not for younger friends and family, and I’ll leave it to your good judgement as to whether they’re appropriate for your particular workplace, or better served as a public transport indulgence - comedy is a late night affair for a reason…..

Designing out waste and inefficiency - Kitty Flanagan and Charlie Pickering - A Day in the life of a Hot-desker (The Weekly)

Waste isn’t just the physical stuff, nor what’s immediately in the bin in front of you. It’s prevalent in systems, the way we live broadly or could just be in waiting by poor design – and underutilised space and assets are no exception.

 Savvy companies and property managers have known long before the pandemic, that leasing floor space for every single employee doesn’t make good sense – from a  resource use or bottom line perspective. And so hotdesking or ‘activity-based working’ was born.

 Feelings on this approach, especially during the disruptive implementation phase vary, generally based on how well it is executed. I’ve experienced workplaces where it has been implemented really well but can’t resist Kitty’s cheeky take on the modern day office setup.

Root cause analysis (Food waste) - John Oliver - Last week tonight

“It’s a story about the food we don’t eat” - John highlights the sheer madness that our current food waste tonnages are, especially given rates of food insecurity.

 But what he also does – much to relief of those of us interested in reducing waste, not just finding another bin to chuck it into, is he deconstructs the very real, and consistent reasons we waste food, with brilliant humour.

Face the big issues but for once laugh your way through them: cosmetic standards, consumer expectations, confusion over date labelling, liability concern and economic challenges when donating food, legislation and the general complexity of food systems.

Consumption rates and the rise of E-commerce - Ronny Chieng - Asian Comedian Destroys America!

Well as a human race, we certainly love our stuff. And with the rise of E-commerce, we want more, and quickly (now!) – and a lot of our spontaneous purchasing decisions simply become landfill.

Ronny is indeed an acquired taste, but if you thrive on some amazing frustrated sarcastic dead pan yell ranting, let the tears roll down your cheeks as Ronny’s clever observations of our impatience and consumption habits ensue.

The relevant content is at the start of the show, but I won’t judge if you can’t help watching the whole thing……..

Ronny Chieng: Asian Comedian Destroys America! On Netflix Australia now.

Protecting product in value chains - Jimmy Rees - The guy who decides packaging

Some packaging is completely unnecessary, and sometimes it is playing a fundamental role in protecting product, extending its useful life, and is especially important in preventing food waste. Having spent enough time in resource recovery and retail, I can imagine any packaging engineer or fmcg expert staring blankly at this clip, and having a really good, logical and technical explanation for all the examples Jimmy raises.

But for the rest of us, marvel in the sheer absurdity and contradictions he highlights for the varying forms our groceries come encased in.

Planned preventative maintenance and repair - Fawlty Towers - Gourmet Night

Maximising a product’s useful life relies on us keeping it in good condition – whether it be cleaning, storing, maintaining or repairing it before components or the whole thing demises and becomes unusable or much more complex, costly or ‘just too hard’ to fix.

Cringe and howl as Basil Fawlty learns the hard way as the consequences of not executing the above add to the mounting stress of ‘Gourmet Night.'

Fawlty Towers - Episode 5 - Available on Stan.

Reuse - Joe Lycett - Sell and Swap Facebook Groups

I’m a huge reuse fan and advocate. But as mentioned in a previous article, dealing in with the crowd, and the offerings on the online forums that enable this sector can be a source of frustration and sometimes, hilarity.

 Joe Lycett sums it up beautifully.

Retaining value via source separation - Julia Louis Dreyfus, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David - The Wife, Episode 81, Seinfeld

“Bel, why do we have all these separate bins anyway?” I’ve been asked this a lot over my career.

Anyone who has had to explain the complexity of the resource recovery sector knows it isn’t a short answer. But I’ve found this clip from Seinfeld does a pretty good job.

 “Different pipes go to different places - you’re gonna mix em up!!!”

Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) shrieks desperately at a dumfounded George (Jason Alexander), who cannot appreciate that a shower recess and toilet are fundamentally just another type of source separation – like bins.

The Big Missing Clip from this Article: Incineration.

I think it’s worth highlighting I have never seen anything on the sheer madness that is burning plastics, fibre, organics etc i.e. ‘waste to energy’ or ‘incineration’ – but hopefully one day someone comical will make my wish come true.

Let’s call it ‘Unavoidable disposal’ - Jerry Seinfeld - Jerry Seinfeld’s position on garbage

Well of course ‘garbage’ wouldn’t actually exist within the utopia where circular economy principles are working in perfection. But let’s face it: for now, the trash is still alive and well, so Jerome makes it in.

He’s halfway to the circular economy mindset – he “hates” garbage but unfortunately he does love to throw things out. Irrespective, cackle away as he cleverly articulates the life cycle of domestic objects, the psychology of disposal, and don’t pretend like you haven’t executed some of the processes he describes – I know I have.

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