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[[File:Biological and technical nutrients (C2C).jpg|right]]
 
A '''circular economy''' is one which conserves inputs. Waste is minimized and resources are reused rather than being treated as waste after their initial use. The term is used to explain what is necessary to create a [[sustainable]] society - i.e. a redesign of how society and [[business]] operate.
 
A '''circular economy''' is one which conserves inputs. Waste is minimized and resources are reused rather than being treated as waste after their initial use. The term is used to explain what is necessary to create a [[sustainable]] society - i.e. a redesign of how society and [[business]] operate.
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In 2013, people around the globe bought more than 1.8 billion mobile phones. But now, nearly half of them are most likely in landfills or at homes, sitting there without any use, as their owners upgrade to newer versions. Imagine, however, if these devices went back to the manufacturers once their lifespan came to an end in order to be turned into new mobile phones. How much would that save the manufacturer in terms of raw materials and time? Or what would be the result if these devices didn't have to be replaced because they were easily repairable and upgradable?
 
In 2013, people around the globe bought more than 1.8 billion mobile phones. But now, nearly half of them are most likely in landfills or at homes, sitting there without any use, as their owners upgrade to newer versions. Imagine, however, if these devices went back to the manufacturers once their lifespan came to an end in order to be turned into new mobile phones. How much would that save the manufacturer in terms of raw materials and time? Or what would be the result if these devices didn't have to be replaced because they were easily repairable and upgradable?
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This is what could be called a "Circular Economy" approach, a new model of production and consumption that thinks of our impact on the environment and our society as a whole. Circular Economy takes us away from the linear take-make-dispose economy we are immersed in and encourages us to rethink waste and energy use. It's an invitation to change from product design, manufacturing processes and supply chains, to consumer perceptions and our lifestyles. <ref>[http://www.shareable.net/blog/a-shareable-explainer-the-circular-economy shareable.net], Mar 1, 2017</ref>
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This is what could be called a "Circular Economy" approach, a new model of production and consumption that thinks of our impact on the environment and our society as a whole. Circular Economy takes us away from the linear take-make-dispose economy we are immersed in and encourages us to rethink waste and energy use. It's an invitation to change from product design, manufacturing processes and supply chains, to consumer perceptions and our lifestyles. <ref>[http://www.shareable.net/blog/a-shareable-explainer-the-circular-economy shareable.net], Mar 1, 2017 ''This piece was written by Isabel Benitez, who is responsible for International Media at the New Economy and Social Innovation Forum (NESI Forum), with the contributions from Nicola Cerantola (founder of Ecologing), Javier Goyeneche (co-founder of ECOALF), architect Pablo Farfán, as well as speakers and collaborators of the NESI Forum.''</ref>
    
== What is the Circular Economy? ==
 
== What is the Circular Economy? ==
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=== Fishing Nets ===
 
=== Fishing Nets ===
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The also researcher on Sustainable Design and Green Entrepreneurship, Nicola Cerantola, highlights the project Econyl by Aquafil. This company, based in Italy, has been researching and achieving to upcycle (recycling without losing quality of the material) its main raw material, the nylon. "They did it not only for complying with their CSR but also for strategic reasons since they forecasted a 30 percent increase on the demand for nylon in the coming years. So to prevent from suffering from supply chain disruptions or price volatility they chose to explore a circular way of doing business," says Cerantola.
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The also researcher on Sustainable Design and Green Entrepreneurship, Nicola Cerantola, highlights the project Econyl by Aquafil. This company, based in [[Italy]], has been researching and achieving to upcycle (recycling without losing quality of the material) its main raw material, the nylon. "They did it not only for complying with their CSR but also for strategic reasons since they forecasted a 30 percent increase on the demand for nylon in the coming years. So to prevent from suffering from supply chain disruptions or price volatility they chose to explore a circular way of doing business," says Cerantola.
    
As a result, this enterprise is currently recovering and upcycling used fishing nets around the world to create new fishing nets. It also provides other fishing services.
 
As a result, this enterprise is currently recovering and upcycling used fishing nets around the world to create new fishing nets. It also provides other fishing services.
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The Circular Economy model can also be used in architecture, focusing on three key resources of this sector that can work on a closed-loop: energy, construction materials, and water.
 
The Circular Economy model can also be used in architecture, focusing on three key resources of this sector that can work on a closed-loop: energy, construction materials, and water.
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Think of a house that is designed to maximize natural resources like sunlight and the wind; one that is built using biomaterials (sheep's wool insulation can be reprocessed back into insulation or into fiber for use in clothing) which are locally sourced, have a low carbon footprint, and do not harm the environment. As architect Pablo Farfán explains, there are architectural organizations that are using the Circular Economy model all over the world: Passivhaus and Bioconstruction in Germany, Earthships in New Mexico, and the Neo Vernacular architecture in the U.K.
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Think of a house that is designed to maximize natural resources like sunlight and the wind; one that is built using biomaterials (sheep's wool insulation can be reprocessed back into insulation or into fiber for use in clothing) which are locally sourced, have a low carbon footprint, and do not harm the environment. As architect Pablo Farfán explains, there are architectural organizations that are using the Circular Economy model all over the world: [[Passivhaus]] and Bioconstruction in [[Germany]], Earthships in [[New Mexico]], and the Neo Vernacular architecture in the [[United Kingdom|U.K.]]
    
=== Traditional Businesses ===
 
=== Traditional Businesses ===
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Fortunately, there are many more examples of how to apply Circular Economy processes even in traditional companies and institutions.
 
Fortunately, there are many more examples of how to apply Circular Economy processes even in traditional companies and institutions.
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The electronics giant Philips based in the Netherlands is experimenting with a "Pay per lux" model. Under this model, the company maintains ownership of the materials, while customers benefit from maintenance and service, as well as from the option to adapt or upgrade their electronics, with the manufacturer able to recover the materials when necessary. Dell has made the first computer using certified closed-loop recycled plastics and uses its international position to influence standards and policies toward a circular economy. And Levi's has started accepting old clothes in its stores and turning them into building materials. It also plans to recycle old Levi's jeans into new ones in the near future.
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The electronics giant Philips based in the [[Netherlands]] is experimenting with a "Pay per lux" model. Under this model, the company maintains ownership of the materials, while customers benefit from maintenance and service, as well as from the option to adapt or upgrade their electronics, with the manufacturer able to recover the materials when necessary. Dell has made the first computer using certified closed-loop recycled plastics and uses its international position to influence standards and policies toward a circular economy. And Levi's has started accepting old clothes in its stores and turning them into building materials. It also plans to recycle old Levi's jeans into new ones in the near future.
    
Meanwhile, in Denmark, where the public sector procures goods and services for around 38 billion euros annually, a national initiative is aiming to shift the country's public procurement practices to support a Circular Economy by prioritizing criteria such as the use of non-toxic chemicals, extended product lifespan, and the cycling of biological and technical materials.
 
Meanwhile, in Denmark, where the public sector procures goods and services for around 38 billion euros annually, a national initiative is aiming to shift the country's public procurement practices to support a Circular Economy by prioritizing criteria such as the use of non-toxic chemicals, extended product lifespan, and the cycling of biological and technical materials.
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However, consumers need to be part of the equation. In addition to the financial, political, and legal support for the Circular Economy, there is a need for education on this model in schools, public and private groups, and media outlets.
 
However, consumers need to be part of the equation. In addition to the financial, political, and legal support for the Circular Economy, there is a need for education on this model in schools, public and private groups, and media outlets.
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=== Circular economy and local communities ===
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Getting to a circular economy involves a lot of redesign. A question which may not be getting enough attention so far is the extent to which local communities, as opposed to just big business, can influence and be involved in this redesign, although there may be examples of individual communities attempting this path for their own local economic development.
 
   
 
   
 
== What are the benefits of the Circular Economy model? ==
 
== What are the benefits of the Circular Economy model? ==
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The Circular Economy offers a unique opportunity to make our economy more sustainable and competitive. Let's change the economy to change the world.
 
The Circular Economy offers a unique opportunity to make our economy more sustainable and competitive. Let's change the economy to change the world.
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== Notes and references ==
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{{reflist}}
      
== See also ==
 
== See also ==
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* [[No such thing as waste]]
 
* [[No such thing as waste]]
 
* [[Industrial ecology]]
 
* [[Industrial ecology]]
 
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* [[Towards sustainable economies]]
    
== Interwiki links ==
 
== Interwiki links ==
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{{stub}}
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'''References'''
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{{reflist}}
    
[[Category:Economics]]
 
[[Category:Economics]]
 
[[Category:Recycling]]
 
[[Category:Recycling]]

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