The circular economy is a generic term used for an industrial economy that is, by design or intention, restorative.
The concept concerns material flow that is dependent on the product design.
A linear (by design) economic model is that of a product that is designed, manufactured, used, and finally ending in waste or recycling.
A circular (by design) economic model is the design of a product that is manufactured, used, and then returned to the supplier for dismantling, updating, and then reuse into the market as a new product.
The concept is to minimise the material waste (into landfill or recycling) while also securing a supply of material for future products. This can have up to 70% in savings in manufacturing while also dropping the future manufacturing/product costs.
For example, Renault now designs their automobiles to be sold, used, and returned in the future (after use), whereby the engine block and other components are reused in a new model of car many years later. This secures their material and reduces the cost of the overall car.
The ambassador for the ‘Circular Economy’ is Dame Ellen MacArthur, whom first achieved fame in February 2005 when she broke the world record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe; sailing on a 75′ trimaran from France, through the southern ocean and back to France some 71 days and 27,354 nautical miles (50,660 km) later.
After retiring from professional sailing, in 2010 MacArthur founded the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, with the aim to accelerate the transition to a regenerative, circular economy.
She has provided educational programmes and, as an ambassador to the circular economy, has presented in many global events including the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Listen to Dame Ellen MacArthur talk in the below video:
To find out more about Circular Economy visit “The Ellen MacArthur Foundation“