What is the Circular Economy?

By Steven Galvin - Last update

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What is the Circular Economy? The circular economy is an economic model that aims to eliminate waste by circulating materials and products at their highest value for as long as possible. Here we take a look at some  of its key principles.

What is the Circular Economy?

  • Design out Waste – Circular systems are regenerative by design, avoiding material waste and pollution
  • Extend Product Lifespans – By reusing, repairing, refurbishing or remanufacturing products and components
  • Use Renewables – Shift to renewable energy and materials that regenerate in nature, like biodegradable inputs
  • Rethink Ownership – Move from an ownership to usership model through sharing platforms and product-as-service
  • Waste Equals Food – Make waste from one process input for another through upcycling and industrial symbiosis
  • Support Eco-effectiveness – Deliver economic gains while progressively reducing environmental impacts

Unlike the dominant linear economy model of take, make, use and dispose; a circular system is restorative and regenerative by design. It decouples economic activity from finite resource consumption.

Transitioning to a circular economy demands innovations in product design, business models and cross-industry collaboration – but holds huge potential for sustainable prosperity.

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Steven Galvin

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