Alternatives: A Circular Economy

Ideas of a circular economy are concerned with moving away from linear and resource heavy economic models, towards an economic system that is grounded in comparisons to living, natural systems.

The get prescription online canada, prescription drugs online without cipla generic viagra sildenafil Best Canadian Online Pharmacies, is it legal to buy viagra online online pharmacy no prior prescription movement for a circular economy developed from numerous schools of thought and has gathered momentum amongst small groups of academics, organisations and businesses. Influenced by ideas that have stressed a closed loop approach to production processes; a focus upon product-life extension, long life goods, reconditioning activities and waste prevention. Notions of circular economy have also been influenced by bio-mimicry, basing modern systems on natural ones; nature as a model, nature as a measure and nature as a mentor. 

Video by Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Central to circular economy is a philosophy purported by Michael Braungart, a German chemist, and Bill McDonough, an American designer, entitled ‘Cradle to Cradle’ design. They asserted that materials should be split into two ‘nutrients’; biological nutrients, organic materials that once used can decompose into the soil, and technical nutrients, that are designed to be used and reused with minimal energy and highest quality retention. Materials and products should be designed to ensure reuse without a loss in integrity or quality; eliminating concepts of waste, shifting focus to renewable energy, and celebrating diversity.

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Image taken from Ellen MacArthur Foundation

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation have pioneered the development of this approach, developing a number of key principles for a circular economy.

  1. Designing out waste: designing biological and technical components to fit within materials cycles, either biological or technical
  2. Resilience in diversity: diverse systems better able to withstand external pressures
  3. Renewable energy: reducing fossil fuel dependence and increasing demand for human labour
  4. Thinking in systems: understanding how parts influence one another within the whole, and the relationship of the whole to the parts
  5. Think in cascades: creating additional value by cascading products and materials through other applications (e.g re-using waste)

The Ellen-MacArthur Foundation  provide numerous tools;

Video by Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Increasing Focus

Circular Economy has become a focal point for the European Commission, who have introduced a European circular economic framework: Communication “Towards a Circular Economy: a zero waste program for Europe”. This aims to boost recycling and the re-use of materials, create jobs, introduce new business and industrial models, and reduce environmental impacts. The European Commission adopted a legislative proposal to review recycling and other waste related targets. More information can be found here 

European Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik claimed that the circular economy will be the “great innovation challenge” of coming decades. A press release for the European Commission initiative is available here

“It is the challenge, and the responsibility of policymakers to tackle the inertia of the old system to enable this revolution; to create the right framework conditions for a managed and predictable transition; to create the right signals, incentives and instruments”Janez Potočnik in parliament magazine

Other Circular Economy Campaigns

WRAP: The main delivery organisation working on the circular economy in the UK, helping implement policies and accelerate the move to a sustainable resource-efficient economy

Circular Economy Task Force: a Green Alliance initiative carrying out research and producing reports including Resource Resilient UK and Wasted Opportunities

Circular Economy Australia: Driving awareness and adoption of circular economy principles in Australia

Circle Economy: Open platform seeking to accelerate transition to a circular economy

Circular Economy Toolkit: Consolidating opportunities and information on how companies can start finding benefits from a circular economy.

Forum for the Future: Investigating Circular Economy: Linking with partners to identify barriers to and opportunities for a circular economy.