What is a Circular Economy?

Circular Economy
    The circular economy is a theoretical framework for a future economic system in which nothing is wasted, everything is reused, and the environment is continually restored. Greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and pollution can all be decreased by the circular economy’s practice of reusing and recycling items.

    The Japanese notion of mottainai conveys the regret felt when resources are lost without being utilized to their full potential, which is common in a linear economic system. The term’s central concept, “circular,” refers to a procedure leading to an endless loop. An example of this would be recycling at home or taking care of compostable food waste appropriately. The term can also be used to describe the corporate practice of designing and manufacturing items with the same idea in mind.

    Circular packaging, designs, and production methods have been showcased throughout industries, and there have been numerous initiatives to cut down on waste generation and adopt more sustainable practices. BMW’s newest car design is only one example of how the use of recycled parts and other environmentally friendly techniques can be incorporated into the automobile industry. In most cases, the life cycle of a component will not be closed without the application of some sort of mechanism.

    In a traditional, linear economy, unprocessed materials are converted into finished goods before being thrown away. To the contrary, the goal of the circular economy model is to reduce the disconnect between human-made products and the natural ecosystem cycles on which we all ultimately depend. On the one hand, this necessitates reducing the generation of trash by measures such as composting biodegradable trash and, on the other, by means such as reusing, remanufacturing, and recycling, in the case of trash that has been converted and is not biodegradable. However, this also involves betting on renewable energy sources and abandoning the usage of chemical compounds (which can aid in the regeneration of natural systems).

    The following are some concepts fundamental to the circular economy.

  1. Waste = food: This principle stands for the continuous cycling of materials and products. A material or product that is no longer used shouldn’t become a ‘waste’ but instead, be part of a new cycle of use. In nature, one species’ waste is always another species’ food. For instance, birds eat berries. So bird droppings containing a berries seed and acting as a fertilizer enable these to grow into plants. The same principle in recycling should be used, making former waste into materials for new products (plastic, glass, paper).
  2. Resilience through diversity: Resilient means being able to face change while continuing to develop. More extraordinary biodiversity contributes to the general health of the system. Systems with many different components prove to be more resilient. A jungle or a forest ecosystem may serve as examples of this principle in nature. A manufactured system may be a farm producing different foods where the production processes are interconnected.
  3. Energy from renewable resources: Solar energy, wind power and tidal power are the primary sources of renewable energy which should be used more. In a natural system, a plant uses sunlight to grow. In a manufactured world, we should also use renewable energy instead of oil and gas.
  4. Think in systems: This principle is about numerous actors working together to create adequate flows of materials and information. In nature, this is the way the food chain operates. If one species goes extinct, it can affect many other species because they are interdependent in complex ways. In the artificial system, our changes may lead to unexpected and unpredictable effects. The circular economy is guided by the natural system, which seems to have worked efficiently for thousands of years. 

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