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Circular economy refers to an economic system aimed at minimizing waste and making the most of resources by keeping materials, products and assets in use for as long as possible. In a circular economy, waste is reduced and resources are used, reused, and recycled in a closed loop, reducing the reliance on new raw materials and minimizing environmental impact.
The circular economy model is related to sustainability because it focuses on reducing waste and preserving resources, thereby reducing the environmental impact of economic activities. By keeping products, materials, and assets in use, the circular economy model helps to conserve finite resources and reduce pollution, making it a crucial component of sustainable development.
To get to a circular economy, companies can adopt several strategies, such as:
Designing products with recyclability and reuse in mind.
Implementing closed-loop supply chains, where materials and products are continually recycled and reused.
Investing in circular business models, such as product-as-a-service, rental and leasing.
Promoting circular procurement practices, where the focus is on buying products and materials that have a low environmental impact.
Collaborating with suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders to drive circularity throughout the value chain.
Examples of different industries that have already started to adopt circular economy practices include:
Textile and clothing industry: Brands such as Patagonia and Levi's have implemented take-back programs, where customers can return their used clothing for recycling or resale.
Food industry: Companies such as Danone and Unilever have implemented closed-loop supply chains to reduce waste and minimize their environmental impact.
Technology industry: Companies such as Apple and HP have implemented closed-loop supply chains for their electronic devices and are investing in recycling and refurbishment programs.