Until now, linear economies based on the make-use-dispose model have driven innovation in our society, resulting in ‘externalities’ that appear insignificant in the short term but eventually accumulate to harm our Earth and atmosphere, sometimes irreversibly. So much so that we are now entering the Anthropocene, or ‘Epoch of Humans,’ a new accelerated geological age in which human activity has been the main effect on climate and the environment that we live in. Meanwhile, in this difficult time, where pollution has become the greatest threat to life on the planet, the circular economy model offers us a long-term solution. Let’s take a closer look at what this approach entails.
A New Concept
The circular economy model, which was proposed at the turn of the century, is a relatively new concept in which all waste generated at the end of a product’s or service’s lifespan is reintroduced into the production and consumption cycle as regenerative resources. It is a system in which waste is “engineered out” of company operations and in which firms collaborate to protect and restore our ecosystems for a safer and better world.
How The Circular Economy System Operates
A circulare conomy is an economic system that aspires for zero waste and contamination throughout the material lifespan — from extraction to industrial transformation and end-users — and applies to all interrelated ecosystems. Once their useful life ends, materials are returned to an industrial process or, in the case of treated organic residue, safely released into the environment as part of a natural regenerative cycle. It operates by delivering value at the macro, meso, and micro levels, and it makes full use of the layered concept of sustainability. Energy sources that are both clean and renewable are utilized.
Circular economy emphasizes the design-based implementation of the model’s three main principles to address global concerns such as climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution. The elimination of waste and pollution, the circulation of products and resources, and the regeneration of nature are the three concepts required for the transition to a circular economy. It aims to increase resource productivity by keeping products, resources, equipment, and infrastructure in use for longer periods. Waste materials and energy are valorized so that they can be used in other processes, either as a component in another industrial process or as natural resources that can be replenished (e.g., compost).
Some people are actively trying to raise awareness about the benefits of a circular economy, such as Dauro Lohnhoff Dorea. He is a German-Brazilian lawyer currently serving as a senior partner at a law company in the Sao Paulo area of Brazil. Dauro is making a concerted effort to increase awareness about the circular economy and its social impacts for which he also founded the American Institute of Circular Economy to create an official seal that would accredit companies who have adopted and implemented a circular economy business strategy.