The current economy was established from a linear process or production model (input, transformation, output, waste and the subsequent partial recycling) with products as output. Central to the linear model is the transformation of commodities. While being dominant for more than a century, the model is incredibly inefficient since it functions on the basis of a continuous and ever increasing stream of new ‘raw’ materials. The need to reduce consumption of natural resources and limiting waste is increasing. A major shift in thinking, producing and using is needed, in order to stop the depletion of our earth. We need an economic system that operates within the capacity of our earth: an economic system that is not linear but circular.
A circular economy is a closed system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design, meaning that resources are initially obtained from the environment but afterwards the waste becomes itself a resource and it is indefinitely recycled in the economic process.
In a circular production model, it is not the products but the raw materials that are central. The core is to exploit and re-use these raw materials continuously in an endless loop. This implies that, in designing a product, the recovery of materials becomes the central issue. This change in thinking leads to a perspective on, for example, cars, buildings, or washing machines as sources of materials.
Circular economy – An answer to the dominant, but highly inefficient, linear economy. Where raw materials are infinitely being exploited and re-used in an endless loop instead of being seen as waste when they have served their purpose.