What is a circular economy and how does waste management factor into it?

30th September 2020 | Recycling

A Circular Economy describes an economic system which eliminates as much production waste as possible in order to continually reuse resources. In other words, it is a system which maximises the value of resources by recycling and repurposing them as much as possible. This is in contract to a conventional linear economy where products are made, used, and disposed of rather than mad, used, reused (repurposed), recycled, and made again (into new products or the same product) in a circular fashion.

Of course, however, adopting a circular economic system of production is easy for some products but very difficult for others. Glass bottles, for instance, can pretty much be recycled infinitely with no loss of quality in the grade of the glass, whereas, single-use plastics such as cling film are frequently disposed of, not repurposed or reused, and are difficult to recycle – thus ending up in landfill (the ultimate destination for the linear economic system).

Circular economy

A Circular Economy has numerous benefits and as pressures mount to becoming a more sustainable society these advantages would certainly help our society reach a sustainable status. The two core advantages which particularly impress us as a waste management company are the fact that this cyclical system would create less waste and would reduce the negative impacts our production levels have on the environment. This is because there will be less demand for finite resources and in particular fossil fuels in order to create products because we will reuse and recycle our materials over and over again rather than binning them and sourcing fresh raw materials.

But, of course, this is, in essence, an economic model not just a waste reduction proposal and so for this system to be able to thrive in a capitalist society it must by of economic benefit, and according to studies conducted by WRAP and the Green Alliance it undoubtedly is.

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