Much has been said lately about the infeasibility of current production systems, which are based on processes such as the extraction, manufacture, use and disposal of basic products, but which, with the passing of decades, is entering an alarming situation for the planet. For this, we must take into account the circular economy.
In this sense, it is clear that the current economy will not be able to sustain itself for much longer, so it is time to start thinking about some alternatives, and it is then that the circular economy appears as a solution, a term that you have probably read or listened.
What is the circular economy
In this sense, the circular economy seeks to present a new economic paradigm, which wants to go further than the popular «Three Rs» of reduce, reuse and recycle.
An eco-design of the products is sought, where the manufacturing processes and the use of materials are taken into account, which must consume little energy and not generate waste.
The products that are generated must be able to extend their useful life, their repairs being simple and ending with the closing of the circle as they are reusable and easy to disassemble.
One of the reasons for moving towards a circular economy is the increased demand for raw materials and the scarcity of resources. Several crucial raw materials are finite, and as the world’s population grows, demand also increases..
Another reason is the dependence on other countries, as some of the EU depend on other countries for their raw materials.
The impact on the climate is another factor. The extraction and use of raw materials have significant environmental consequencesincreases energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, while smarter use of raw materials can reduce polluting emissions.
Among the main reasons for betting on the circular economy we find the increase in the demand for raw materials and the scarcest resources.
What are the benefits?
Measures such as waste prevention, eco-design and reuse can generate net savings of €600 billion, or 8% of annual turnover, for EU companies, while lowering total emissions of greenhouse gases in a range between 2% and 4%
In contrast to the current linear economy that governs the world, the circular economy is defined as a new treatment of raw materials in the face of the scarcity of natural resources that the Earth itself provides us, so that daily consumption objects are reused, reducing not only the amount of garbage we generate, but also the demand for replacements for those items.
But how does it work?
In a circular economy society, all the actors involved minimize their waste and they try to recover any material that has gone through a first stage of its use to give it a new use, regardless of the modifications that must be applied.
At the same time, when manufacturing new items, priority will be given to those materials that age best, that can be recovered to re-enter the market and to avoid dependency on external supplies, which is key in this period of global uncertainty.
Finally, it should be noted that this type of economy is not limited solely to financial purposes, but rather seeks to offer real social inclusion, in which each human being can make their own contribution to the chain, preventing people, like objects , remain outside the logics of consumption.