What is the Circular Economy?

The circular economy is an alternative solution for the current linear economy that is based on a  ‘take, make, consume and dispose’ mindset. It is a model that is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.

What this means is that by keeping products, equipment and infrastructure in use for longer, we improve the productivity of these resources. This drastically reduces our demand on resources, creating a more sustainable society for now and for future generations.

In a circular economy model, the aim is to close the gap between the production and the natural ecosystems’ cycles – on which humans ultimately depend upon. It’s not about being ‘less bad’, but about creating an economy that operates in harmony with our natural world.

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Looking beyond the current take-make-dispose extractive industrial model, a circular economy aims to redefine growth, focusing on positive society-wide benefits. It entails gradually decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources and designing waste out of the system. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural, and social capital.

— Ellen McArthur Foundation’s Definition Of The Circular Economy