Circular Economy

Circular Economy
Videos from ‘Ellen MaCarthur Foundation ‘The circular economy: from consumer to user’; ‘making waves on a journey to a regenerative circular economy’; & The Guardian ‘Creating a circular economy: the challenges and opportunities for business’

‘A circular economy is one that is restorative and regenerative by design, and which aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times, distinguishing between technical and biological cycles’. [Ellen Macarthur Foundation]

The aim of circular economy is the eradication of waste, systematically, throughout the life cycles and uses of products and their components. Circular economy product design, designs out waste to enable biological and technical components to fit within a biological or technical materials cycle. The end component and product cycles of use and reuse help distinguish it from the linear take–make¬–dispose economy, which wastes large amounts of embedded materials, energy, and labour.

The following page presents resources and tags to give traction to our understanding of the circular economy paradigm.

EMF System

Click the diagram to expand

Linear Economy
linear basic
Our current economy is a basic structure: we dig things out of the ground, turn them into products that last from minutes to a few years at most (planned/designed obsolescence), and then return them to the ground as landfill. Wasteful? …of resources of course yes, but also financially myopic and distressing for the environment.

The current linear model of ‘take, make and waste’ is therefore unsustainable. For example: the EU dumps approx. 1,600 kilo tonnes of post-consumer carpet material every year with about 60 percent going into landfill with the balance going into incinerators. A large percentage of this waste, such as nylon, is non-biodegradable and, consistent with Cradle to Cradle® principles, should have been designed to re-enter into the technical sphere for recycling, rather than ending up in landfill.

The Business Case for Circular Economy
Our vision in this new paradigm, anticipates that businesses will innovate new circular business models that either replace existing ones or develop new opportunities. Companies with significant market share will consequently adopt their capabilities along vertical steps of their linear value chain to drive circularity into the mainstream by leveraging their scale and vertical integration. Entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs will develop new models, materials, and products to complement and enhance circularity. Meanwhile profitable circular economy business models will attract new players to replicate, copy and scale geographically.

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