The circular economy refers to a system where resources are redeployed and reused and waste flows are turned into inputs for further production.
These processes can happen at any scale from the composting of organic waste for gardening to entire industrial systems which exchange waste streams – moving away from our current linear economy model, in which 80-90% of goods become waste within six months of consumption.
Moving to the circular economy model will reduce waste and could also mean huge cost savings. But its creation and enactment will involve reform at a system level, product level and consumer level. The circular economy requires a large overhaul of industrial systems to fully enable a closed resource loop and ensure full resource productivity.
This February 2018 report by The Warren Centre identifies current global trends towards a circular economy for industrial systems, products and consumers. It examines the role of different stakeholders including government, industry and academia, and considers the key legislative, technological and education barriers towards implementation.
Image: © WWF Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance. Used with permission.