Circular Economy / Circularity

What is the circular economy?

The circular economy is a framework for systemic solutions to global challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution (MacArthur Foundation).

The circular economy is the shift in how the world produces and consumes goods and services. The circular model restructures the economy around the principles of minimising waste and pollution while extending the life of products and materials. Equally important is the rejuvenation of the world’s wilderness, the development of restorative agricultural systems, renewable materials, and the transition to renewable energy sources (Schr√∂der et al., 2022)

Image Credit: woodpeck.org

In today’s economy, we take materials from the Earth, manufacture products, and eventually discard them as waste – the process is linear. In a circular economy, on the other hand, we prevent waste from being created in the first place. The circular economy is founded on three design-driven waste and pollution elimination principles: Circulate products and materials (at their highest value) and regenerate nature (MacArthur Foundation)

Image Credit: unctad.org

A circular economy involves markets that encourage the reuse of products rather than scrapping them and extracting new resources. In such an economy, all types of waste, such as clothing, scrap metal, and obsolete electronics, are recycled or reused. This can offer a way to safeguard the environment, make better use of natural resources, and create new industries, jobs, and capabilities (UNCTAD, 2022).