Category:Circular Economy

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The concept of the circular economy is based on the idea that products can be reused, and after reuse the materials can be reclaimed to enter again into the system of production. If all materials could be reused in this way, further extraction of raw materials would be needed only where more goods were in use. The concept thus aligns with the aim of long term sustainability, even where raw materials are becoming scarce.

Wikipedia defines the circular economy as "an economic system aimed at minimizing waste and making the most of resources".

The idea is also related to reflection on the cycles of nature. "The Circular Economy is based on the abundance of flows generated from our alignment with ecosystemic metabolisms. Put simply, we should be imitating natural cycles as closely as we possibly can. The Circular Economy holds the keys of positive perspectives about the future of business, the future of the environment and about our future as people. It depicts a world without waste, where unused resources will find a function in an economy that will regenerate itself while growing within our systemic boundaries"
Alexandre Lemille [1]

Other people doubt the realism of this vision. For example, Kris De Decker, in How Circular is the Circular Economy (2018), gives a critical summary of the limitations of the Circular Economy, pointing out how modern manufacturing makes it difficult to imitate the recycling that nature performs.

Contextual Quote

Maintaining Natural Capital

"‘For the management of renewable resources there are two obvious principles of sustainable development. First that harvest rates should equal regeneration rates (sustained yields). Second that waste emission rates should equal the natural assimilative capacities of the ecosystems into which the wastes are emitted. Regenerative and assimilative capacities must be treated as natural capital, and failure to maintain these capacities must be treated as capital consumption, and therefore not sustainable.’"

- Mathis Wackernagel [2]

Key Ideas

See the Cosmolocalism Research Project of the P2P Lab

Useful Learning Resources


Deeper Study

Key Publications of the P2P Foundation

Related Categories

  • Regenerative Approaches : non-extractive approaches to creating value while restoring the health of the planet and its communities
  • Our Sustainable Manufacturing section looks specifically at modes of material production that are sustainable for the long term
  • Our Thermodynamic Efficiencies section looks at the use of material and energy resources that respect a balanced metabolism between humans and the planet
  • Our P2P Accounting section looks at measurement and accounting issues.
  • Our Commons Economics section looks at how to establish a sound economic approach
  • Our Category: Ecology gives ecological approaches

Pages in category "Circular Economy"

The following 60 pages are in this category, out of 60 total.