What is a Circular Economy?

A circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, get the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life.

This circular approach is a potential solution to the drain on resources on the planet. The circular economy goes beyond recycling, meaning products will be designed with end of life disposal in mind. Every aspect of a product’s conception and construction will be designed to be able to be broken down, reused and recovered at the end of the products life.

Currently, as much as 90% of the raw materials used to manufacture a product are destined to become waste. The goal with the circular economy is not just to design for better end of life recovery but also to minimise energy use.

The circular economy concept explores the ideas of consumers renting products like washing machines, DIY tools and electronics rather than buying them upfront, much in the way that mobile phone contracts operate. This means that products can be returned to manufacturers at the end of their “shelf life”, raw materials recycled by breaking them down and turning them in to new products.

In a nutshell, the circular economy supports an economy in which materials are efficiently managed and recycled, is run on renewable energy and has little or no negative effects on human life or the ecosystem.

In addition to environmental benefits, a circular economy has economic benefits too. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, shifting towards circularity could add $1 trillion to the global economy by 2025 and create 100,000 jobs over the next five years, with manufacturers being the first to benefit as their reliance on expensive finite materials would be reduced.

Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer who specialises in sustainable life & style, music, entertainments and wellbeing. Rosalind also works as a spiritual life coach and intuitive advisor helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com

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