WHAT IS A Circular economy?
In an equitable circular economy, resources and manufactured goods are designed to remain in the system through innovation, reuse and repair, redistribution, recondition, and recycling processes, all of which are powered by renewable energy. As a result, pollution and waste are eliminated. These innovations enable affordable lifestyles and empower new ventures that create green jobs for the future.
Building a circular economy means rethinking how products are designed, manufactured, used, and treated at the end of their useful life. This type of economy is also powered by renewable energy.
A circular economy is one:
where we share more than we own, freeing income and sparing resources
where new ideas come to life and inspire other regions
where products are made and repaired locally
where economic equality is the new norm
where one’s waste is another’s resource
In our circular economy model, we show how products and materials re-enter the supply chain. We have identified five re-entry processes which include reduce, reuse and repair, redistribute, recondition, and recycle. The size of the circle represents how energy and resource intensive the process is. For example, consider a wool sweater. The amount of resources it takes to repair that sweater in comparison to recycling the sweater into a new wool good is far less, and therefore the loop back circle for reuse and repair is much smaller than the one for recycle.
WHAT TYPE OF ECONOMY DO WE
CURRENTLY LIVE IN?
Right now, we live in a largely linear economy. This means that most of the products we purchase today are made from virgin materials and designed to be used once and then thrown away, destined for the landfill or ending up in our oceans.
This linear ‘take-make-waste’ economy in resource intensive and puts pressure on Earth’s natural ecosystems.
Our world is only 8.6% circular. This means that from all the products, materials, and resources in existence, only a small percentage is processed to be recirculated in the economy. All other waste is either landfilled, incinerated, or is left to breakdown in our waterways or on land.