How does a circular economy work?

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A Circular Economy (CE) is a paradigm that establishes a clear difference between what people consume (biological materials) and what people use (technical materials).

In accordance with the CE paradigm, biological materials should return safely to the natural environment through processes like anaerobic digestion, while technical materials must stay in the production system as they move to different value processes:

  1. Share, maintain and prolong (a higher value process)
  2. Reuse/redistribute
  3. Refurbish/remanufacture
  4. Recycle (a lower value process)

In this way, biological and technical materials are always flowing in a continuous cycle that creates economic growth. Finally, it is important to add that this system relies on renewable energies as the main source of energy for the system to work. An excellent and more detailed explanation can be found on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Website.

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