circular economy

The circular economy we should all strive to participate in


The circular economy

Are you familiar with the circular economy?  I look at the question from the viewpoint of what the current economy is not.

Our current unsustainable model

Our current economic model is linear, where resources are taken from the environment as raw materials.  These materials are manufactured into products that are subsequently sold to consumers. Once these products have served their usefulness, they are discarded.

From an economic point of view, this causes three problems: rising prices for materials and energy place consistent pressure on maintaining costs, the supplies of precious materials are not unlimited, and the environmental damage that results from resource extraction, landfilling and waste disposal is irreversible.

The model of the sustainable future

In contrast, the circular economy uses technical and biological nutrients to make products while incorporating opportunities for reuse and recycling in the mass and energy portion of the production stream. The result is maximizing efficiency and minimizing waste.

A circular economy is designed to keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value while in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of life.

The Guardian stated in its infographic “Driving the circular economy “that the benefits of a circular economy include reducing the footprint of products by 75-85 %, reducing costs of products by 10-15%, eliminating supply chain risks.

Why wouldn’t we adopt this economic model?

The circular economy could bring significant environmental, social and economic benefits to consumers as well as businesses.  What would be the harm in trying to adopt this model?