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Definition for Circular Economy

For the term Circular Economy, the SDIA follows the definition granted by the European Parliament (Circular Economy, 2015)

The European Parliament defines Circular Economy as

The circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended.

In practice, it implies reducing waste to a minimum. When a product reaches the end of its life, its materials are kept within the economy wherever possible. These can be productively used again and again, thereby creating further value. (Circular Economy, 2015)

Other definitions

To stick with the example above, Korhonen et al. define Circular Economy as:

Circular economy is an economy constructed from societal production-consumption systems that maximizes the service produced from the linear nature-society-nature material and energy throughput flow. This is done by using cyclical materials flows, renewable energy sources and cascading -type energy flows. Successful circular economy contributes to all the three dimensions of sustainable development. Circular economy limits the throughput flow to a level that nature tolerates and utilises ecosystem cycles in economic cycles by respecting their natural reproduction rates. (Korhonen et al., 2018)

The Ellen McArthur Foundation, an organization that is aimed at encouraging the circular economy globally, defines the structure of a Circular Economy as:

The circular economy is based on three principles, driven by design: Eliminate waste and pollution; Circulate products and materials (at their highest value); Regenerate nature.

It is underpinned by a transition to renewable energy and materials. A circular economy decouples economic activity from the consumption of finite resources. It is a resilient system that is good for business, people and the environment. (New to Circular Economy Overview)

More information on the foundation’s definition can be found here.