A circular economy is a production and consumption framework that aims to promote
sustainable growth. It maximizes resources, reduces raw materials, and reduces waste by
increasing recycling or giving it a second opportunity as a new product.
Therefore, the mission of a circular economy is to leverage material resources by applying three key fundamentals: reduce, reuse, and recycle. This system helps extend the life cycle of products.
Waste is efficiently used, and a sustainable production framework is nurtured over time.
The idea comes from aping nature, where everything is essential and can be used, where waste
is a raw material.
This view ensures the balance between sustainability and progress.
Why We Need to Shift To A Circular Economy?
The global population continues to grow, and so is the demand for raw materials. But there is
little supply of crucial raw materials. Limited supply also means most nations depend on others
for raw materials.
Moreover, extracting and utilizing raw materials significantly impacts the environment. Also, it
increases carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption.
How Does Circular Economy Impact the Environment?
The following explains the impact of circular economy on the environment.
Healthy and Resilient Soils
The fundamentals behind a circular economy in the farming system helps to retain crucial
nutrients that return to the soil via compositing or anaerobic processes, which soften the
exploitation of natural ecosystems and land.
Thus, waste returns to the soil, leaving little to no residues to handle. As a result, the soil gets
more resilient and healthier, enabling greater balance in the ecosystem.
Because soil degradation costs around 40 billion US dollars globally and attracts hidden costs
like fertilizer use and loss of unique landscape and biodiversity – a circular economy is
resourceful for both the economy and the soil.
Reduce Excess Consumption of Resources
Currently, the linear model in use is resource-intensive, and if we continue, it will not be
Adopting a circular economy would witness a shift from virgin resource usage in
manufacturing to a considerable focus on repair, recycling, and remanufacturing practices,
reducing the need for raw materials for production.
At the core of the circular economy is the reduction of natural resource consumption. We can lower these resources by 70%.
Less Greenhouse Gas Emissions
One of the missions of the circular economy is to positively impact the planet’s ecosystem and
fight against the exploitation of natural resources. Through a circular economy, countries can
significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and overuse of raw materials, thus reducing
negative externalities from the linear model. Here are ways a circular economy can help reduce
the greenhouse economy.
● Since it uses renewable energy, it results in less pollution in the long run compared to
● Fewer materials and production processes are required to ensure excellent products
because of reusing and dematerializing.
● Residues are perceived as valuable and reused in the remanufacturing process.
Circular Economy Can Help Regenerate Nature
By moving our economy from linear to circular, we also shift our focus to regeneration. Rather
than constantly degrading nature, we create natural capital. We use adapted farming practices
that enable nature to increase biodiversity and rebuild soils to return natural materials to earth.
Most of these materials are currently over-utilized, and the land used to grow them no longer
Adapting the regenerative model will help us emulate natural systems. Thus, no waste. When a
leaf falls, the forest feeds it. Since time immemorial natural systems have been regenerating
themselves. Humans brought waste.
The Food Industry
The food industry is perhaps the first place we should start when moving to an economy that
How people produce food today is a significant contributor to biodiversity loss and climate
change. It depends heavily on the increasing use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, fresh water,
fossil fuels, and other limited resources. These cause pollution and damage to human health
When we produce food regeneratively, the goal is to improve soil health. Proper regenerative
farming methods can greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing dependence on
synthetic raw materials during food production.
Healthy soils absorb instead of releasing carbon they can hold water better, thus reducing the effect of droughts and the probability of flooding.
Regenerative food production methods include agroforestry, conservation agriculture, and
agroecology. This leads to agricultural land almost similar to natural ecosystems such as native
grassland and forest, providing a home for a host of organisms, hence increasing biodiversity.
By reducing pesticides and synthetic inputs, soil microbes, and pollinators, which are vital for
healthy ecosystems, will thrive.
Sufficient Space for Nature
Besides food systems, there are other advantages of natural ecosystems arising from a circular
economy. By constantly using materials and produce, less land will be needed for extracting
virgin raw materials, such as mines.
If we slowly shy away from material extraction and continue to put the materials in circulation after use, we can give more land back to nature, and rewilding can occur.
In a circular economy, land meant for sourcing raw materials will now be focused on renewable
resources, nurtured in a regenerative way, instead of extracting finite materials, which will
constantly remain in circulation.
All this will work if there is a complete shift to using 100% renewable energy manufactured via infrastructure for repair, reuse, recycling, and
Currently, the world produces around 300 million tons of plastic waste annually. This waste
causes notable damage to human health and ecosystems. It also shows numerous missed
opportunities that our current economy is not leveraging.
Adapting the circular economy model can reduce the waste we produce and promote economic
growth by creating new sectors around the wise management of waste produced.
Adapting to a circular economy is a crucial undertaking. It will require collective effort worldwide – from governments to businesses and individuals – to thrive.
But with all the advantages, there is no reason why all of us should not start shifting toward this model as soon as now.
Businesses around the world are already starting to move toward a circular economy by
reducing plastic waste via purchasing plastic credits.