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Circular Economy Update

The development replacing the linear economy with a circular economy is believed to have positive impacts on the economic sectors of production, consumption, environment and society. As it is a recently established project, there is currently a lot of research being conducted to ensure that there is a clear understanding of what a circular economy is and the actions that it entails in order to succeed. Vasileios Rizos, Katja Tuokko and Arno Behrens wrote a paper entitled The Circular Economy: A review of definitions, processes, and impacts, which aims to critically analyze the circular economy in past, present, and future terms.

There are various definitions of what exactly the circular economy is, but the principle is the focus on recycling and re-using the ‘inputs of the economy’ in order to have a more sustainable and productive economic sector. A popular definition of the circular economy is “where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, and the generation of waste minimized.” The idea of the circular economy was created based on the three critical relationships between the economy and the environment: resource supplier, waste assimilator, and source of utility. It is an interesting concept because it combines industry and environment with the belief that the two can complement each other in ways that will positively impact the economy. The most difficult part of developing the circular economy has been completely replacing the linear economic model, which has been present since the Industrial Revolution.

The review of the Circular Economy paper came to the conclusion that there is a small amount of available information regarding the indirect effects on the economy of the major adjustment that has occurred. These indirect effects would include what kind of impacts it has had on the value change and what kind of changes there have been on consumption and spending patterns. The paper also concludes that because of the fragmentation of the research surrounding the circular economy, it is difficult to compare results on studies that have been conducted. There are strong arguments that the switch to the circular economy will have long-term positive impacts on the economy, but researchers are having a hard time expressing those effects right now.


Issue 54