What is a circular economy?
A circular economy is a shift from our current economy, where we take material from the earth, make products, use it, and throw them away as waste – this process is linear. A circular economy is a contrast to a linear economy where, for example, products circulate at their highest value. Resources are used and reused in a loop rather than being extracted, used, and then discarded. This approach gives a more efficient and effective use of available resources, retains a resource’s value for as long as possible, and generates less waste than the “take-make-use-dispose” models.
In a circular economy, there is a number of activities that businesses can adopt to improve circularity:
- Repair – extend the life cycle of the product.
- Reuse – the product is used again for the same purpose in its original form.
- Remanufacturing/refurbishment – established a new, full product life cycle by disassembling and renovating the product into a condition at least quality to a newly manufactured product.
- Recycling – recovering materials.