The circular economy is an evolution of our current economy, known as linear.
It copies the principle of natural ecosystems in which nothing is lost, nothing is created and everything is transformed.
Since the advent of the industrial age consumption has continued to grow according to the principle “extract-manufacture-consume-throw away”.
This method of working has several negative impacts on the environment:
Firstly, regarding resource consumption.
Studies show that natural reserves of raw materials, which we thought were inexhaustible, are dwindling considerably.
Their steadily rising use (exponential population increase, programmed obsolescence, fads…) are exhausting earth’s reserves, which in the near future will lead to a high price increase as well as conflicts to control these resources.
Secondly, regarding energy consumption.
The transformation of certain raw materials necessary for manufacturing everyday products like plastic, aluminium, food….consumes huge amounts of fossil energy and therefore causes significant CO2 waste in the atmosphere, whose harmful effects are no longer in doubt.
Thirdly, on the production of waste.
Resources used in the framework of the linear economy are mainly transformed into waste, either production waste or end of lifecycle waste.
This model is no longer viable, it is urgent to drastically change our way of considering industry at the risk of putting humanity in danger.
A circular economy allows an even more environmentally-friendly consumption
From a resources point of view:
All materials are endlessly recyclable (at least in theory).
Like in nature, the waste of some becomes the raw material of others. Using waste as a resource by advocating recycling will clearly allow us to draw less on the earth’s natural resources.
From an energy consumption point of view:
The manufacturing of raw materials from recycled products is a lot less energy-consuming.
Furthermore, fossil energies produce an incredible quantity of CO2.
It is advisable to replace them with much cleaner energies.
From a waste production point of view:
A circular economy advocates the use, re-employment and recycling of commodities instead of throwing them away.
All approaches that strongly reduce the final quantity of waste.
Industrial ecology is a notion and a recent practice of environment management aimed at limiting the impacts of industry on the environment.
In concrete terms, it involves all of the practices intended to reduce industrial pollution.
Discover the industrial economy in video :
“The functional economy favours use over possession and tends towards services linked to products rather than the products themselves.” ADEME
Discover the servicizing in video :
The principle of the ecodesign of a product falls within a more global environmental approach.
Like industrial ecology and the economics of functionality, it’s a part of the loop of circular economy that is situated upstream during design.
Ecodesign aims, with equal quality and performance, to reduce the product’s negative impacts on the environment throughout its life cycle.
It takes into account all life stages of the product.