In our current economy, we take materials from the Earth, make products from them, and eventually throw them away as waste – the process is linear. In a circular economy, by contrast, we stop waste being produced in the first place.
The circular economy is based on three principles, driven by design:
• Eliminate waste and pollution
• Circulate products and materials (at their highest value)
• Regenerate nature
It is underpinned by a transition to renewable energy and materials. A circular economy decouples economic activity from the consumption of finite resources. It is a resilient system that is good for business, people and the environment.
The circular economy is a systems solution framework that tackles global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution.
We must transform every element of our take-make-waste system: how we manage resources, how we make and use products, and what we do with the materials afterwards. Only then can we create a thriving circular economy that can benefit everyone within the limits of our planet.
A way to transform our system
What will it take to transform our throwaway economy into one where waste is eliminated, resources are circulated, and nature is regenerated?
The circular economy gives us the tools to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss together, while addressing important social needs.
It gives us the power to grow prosperity, jobs, and resilience while cutting greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and pollution.
How the circular economy works
Get the basics or explore the circular economy in detail.
The ‘butterfly diagram’ shows the continuous flow of materials in a circular economy.