This is the circular economy

In a circular economy we don’t deplete our resources. Instead, they are used again and again in an eternal loop.

For hundreds of years, we have lived in a linear society. We have taken resources from the ground, made stuff out of them, and thrown them away when we didn’t want our stuff anymore. But we can’t go on like that. The earth has less and less to give. The hunt for raw materials costs more and more energy as reserves decline. This changes the climate, and if nothing happens, earth will become a difficult place to live.

We have to think in a totally new way.

Welcome to the circular economy.

In a circular economy we’ve managed to close the loops, so that all resources we have once taken from the earth stay in the loops. All our things are tailored to work in a world where nothing is thrown away. They are designed to be fixed when they break, to be reused by someone else or to yield parts to new things. They can be picked apart into molecules, so that metals, plastics and other materials can become building blocks for new stuff. We have gotten there through safeguarding our resources, especially the ones in short supply.

Waste? In a circular economy, there is no waste. Leftovers from one part of the circle get used in the next step. Thinking circular from the start, we design for no waste at the drawing table. We use no toxic substances that end up in the loop, or components that can’t be taken apart and recycled. In that way, materials retain their value, regardless of how many times we use them.

People in the circular economy are users, not consumers. Instead of owning, consuming and disposing of things, we are part of the loop, and pay for the services we need. Car manufacturers offer the service ‘Move me from A to B’. Does your office need new lights or carpeting? That’s part of your ‘Good work environment’ service. Businesses are responsible for ensuring that their products stay in the loop; refurbished, as parts or as recycled materials. The longer a company’s resources stay in the hands of users, the more money the company makes.

In the circular economy we have countered climate change, tackled many other environmental problems and increased our prosperity. All by keeping our resources spinning in the loop.

Download our 2-pager "This is the circular economy" and read more about how we will reach a circular economy.