The circular economy
Connecting, creating and conserving value
The circular economy concept is a response to the aspiration for sustainable growth in the context of the growing pressure of production and consumption on the world's resources and environment. Until now, the economy has mainly operated on a 'take-make-dispose' model – a linear model where every product is bound to reach its 'end of life'. A transition to a circular economy shifts the focus to reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products. What used to be regarded as 'waste' can be turned into a resource. The circular economy is best understood by looking into... natural, living systems that function optimally because each of their components fits into the whole. Products are intentionally designed to fit into material cycles, and as a result materials flow in a way that keeps the value added for as long as possible – and residual waste is close to zero. Europe has already prepared the ground for this transition: a resource efficient Europe is one of the Europe 2020 flagship initiatives that coordinates actions across many policy areas to secure sustainable growth and jobs through better use of resources.
- Corporate author(s): Directorate-General for Environment (European Commission) Themes: Conservation of resources, Environment — Ecology
- Subject: climate change policy, degradation of the environment, environmental economics, EU environmental policy, recycled product, renewable resources, sustainable development, waste management, waste recycling
The print on demand version may be of a different presentation and quality than the original paper version.