Circular economy

The September publication addressed the relationship between circular economy and “second-hand” products; however, how to define circular economy? Which are its analytical dimensions? And, how it relates with sustainability?

Circular economy is a production/consumption model that recognises sharing, rental, reuse, repair, renewal and recycling of materials and products when possible. Ie., the aim is to increase products lifetime usage (cycle) to reduce waste or inefficiencies to a minimum to reduce environmental impact.

Thus, when a product ends its life cycle, the materials are reinserted into the economy in light of potential recycling, since it depends on the product taxonomy. Products with a high recycling capacity translate into a high number of reuses, so they enable greater value creation.

This represents a clear contrast with the traditional economic model of continuous production and consumption without reusing. This requires large quantities of raw materials at low prices, as well as energy and capital (intensity). Therefore, it has a close relationship with sustainability because it seeks to satisfy our current needs without compromising the same opportunity for future generations.