About Circular Economies

The circular economy is a generic term for an industrial economy that is producing no waste and pollution, by design or intention, and in which material flows are of two types, biological nutrients, designed to reenter the biosphere safely, and technical nutrients, which are designed to circulate at high quality in the production system without entering the biosphere.

The circular economy in which industry adopts the reuse and service-life extension of goods as a strategy of waste prevention, regional job creation and resource efficiency in order to decouple wealth from resource consumption, that is to dematerialize the industrial economy.

In January 2012, a report was released entitled Towards the Circular Economy: Economic and business rationale for an accelerated transition. The report, commissioned by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and developed by McKinsey & Company, was the first of its kind to consider the economic and business opportunity for the transition to a restorative, circular model.

Using product case studies and economy-wide analysis, the report details the potential for significant benefits across the EU. It argues that a subset of the EU manufacturing sector could realize net materials cost savings worth up to $630 billion p.a. towards 2025—stimulating economic activity in the areas of product development, remanufacturing and refurbishment.

Towards the Circular Economy also identified the key building blocks in making the transition to a circular economy, namely in skills in circular design and production, new business models, skills in building cascades and reverse cycles, and cross-cycle/cross-sector collaboration.

On 17 December 2012, the European Commission published a document entitled Manifesto for a Resource Efficient Europe. This manifesto clearly stated that "In a world with growing pressures on resources and the environment, the EU has no choice but to go for the transition to a resource-efficient and ultimately regenerative circular economy."

Furthermore, the document highlighted the importance of "a systemic change in the use and recovery of resources in the economy" in ensuring future jobs and competitiveness, and outlined potential pathways to a circular economy, in innovation and investment, regulation, tackling harmful subsidies, increasing opportunities for new business models, and setting clear targets.

The European environmental research and innovation policy aims at supporting the transition to a circular economy in Europe, defining and driving the implementation of a transformative agenda to green the economy and the society as a whole, to achieve a truly sustainable development. Research and innovation in Europe are financially supported by the program Horizon 2020, which is also open to participation worldwide.

The circular economy in which industry adopts the reuse and service-life extension of goods as a strategy of waste prevention, regional job creation and resource efficiency in order to decouple wealth from resource consumption, that is to dematerialize the industrial economy.

Learn how ECOR provides a full-circle economy with its material.

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