From the linear to the circular economy
In recent years, the whole environmental issue has started to gain the attention it deserves. International movements, such as Greta Thunberg’s “Fridays for Future” have thrust the issue into the spotlight and onto governments’ agendas.
Governments are starting to consider more concrete solutions to issues mainly caused by population growth and the shortage of raw materials. While the current linear production system is based on the exploitation of raw materials, the concept of a circular economy is gaining momentum especially in Europe. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a US foundation set up to encourage the transition to a circular economy, has defined the circular economy as restorative and regenerative by design.
The circular economy is underpinned by three main principles:
- Reduction of the use of raw materials, choosing to design products with a long lifespan that require little maintenance;
- Re-use of products to avoid their disposal and give them a second life;
- Recycling to recover raw materials that become secondary raw materials, with the same characteristics as the original raw materials.