What is the circular economy?
Linear is No Longer Sustainable
For the last 150 years, our economic growth has depended on our ability to extract resources from the ground, convert them into products we use, and eventually throw them away. This “Take, Make, Dispose” approach, referred to as the linear economy, is no longer sustainable.
THe Circular Economy
To solve this problem, we must transition to a Circular Economy, where we fundamentally alter how we consume materials, design and use products, and preserve and extend the life of what’s already been made. This “Make, Use, Recycle” approach is truly sustainable.
Focus on the CORE PRINCIPLES OF THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY:
- ADOPT a systems-level perspective
- REDUCE raw materials consumption
- DESIGN products that can be reused, remanufactured, and recycled
- PRESERVE and EXTEND the life of products and materials
- USE waste as a resource
In partnership with our members, we work to accelerate the transition to a Circular Economy as we:
- DEVELOP innovative technologies to recover, reuse, remanufacture and recycle products and materials
- FOCUS on four material classes – metals, plastics, fibers, and e-waste
- EDUCATE and train engineers, scientists, and technicians in the incumbent workforce to develop and use these technologies
Explaining the circular economy
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation works with business, government and academia to build a framework for an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design.
The current system is no longer working for businesses, people or the environment. We take resources from the ground to make products, which we use, and, when we no longer want them, throw them away. Take-make-waste. We call this a linear economy. The linear economy has to change.
We must transform all the elements of the take-make-waste system: how we manage resources, how we make and use products, and what we do with the materials afterwards. Only then can we create a thriving economy that can benefit everyone within the limits of our planet. It’s called the Circular Economy.
It’s a new way to design, make, and use things within planetary boundaries.
Shifting the system involves everyone and everything: businesses, governments, and individuals; our cities, our products, and our jobs. By designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems we can reinvent everything.