In an effort to define a common language for the circular economy, Circle Economy has mapped the various terms and definitions used by over 20 organisations - NGOs, government agencies, academia, consultancies, etc. - working on elements of the topic. After interpreting and grouping these various terms, seven key elements emerged that defined the majority of terms linked to the circular economy.
1. DESIGN FOR THE FUTURE
Account for the systems perspective during the design process, to use the right materials, to design for appropriate lifetime and to design for extended future use
2. INCORPORATE DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY
Track and optimise resource use and strengthen connections between supply chain actors through digital, online platforms and technologies that provide insights.
3. PRESERVE & EXTEND WHAT’S ALREADY MADE
While resources are in-use, maintain, repair and upgrade them to maximise their lifetime and give them a second life through take back strategies when applicable.
4. PRIORITISE REGENERATIVE RESOURCES
Ensure renewable, reusable, non-toxic resources are utilised as materials and energy in an efficient way.
5. USE WASTE AS A RESOURCE
Utilise waste streams as a source of secondary resources and recover waste for reuse and recycling.
6. RETHINK THE BUSINESS MODEL
Consider opportunities to create greater value and align incentives through business models that build on the interaction between products and services.
7. COLLABORATE TO CREATE JOINT VALUE
Work together throughout the supply chain, internally within organisations and with the public sector to increase transparency and create joint value.