Circular Economy

The Circular Economy focuses on large-scale recovery and reuse of materials. By collecting products at the end of the life-cycle, and separating the materials, we can use them again. The circular economy requires 4 things:

  • innovative designs
  • innovative production technologies
  • new organizational forms (such as: reverse logistics and new business models)
  • Cooperation in the supply chain

In addition, need fulfillment and services become more important than product ownership.


Circular Business Models & Circular Design

The potential for additional value within a circular business model is enormous. As a result, more and more business leaders recognize this. As part of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the European Commission has chosen to move towards a resource efficient and circular economic system.

The transition from ownership to performance-based payment models offers attractive value propositions. Circular business models allow industries to develop completely new products and services that reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and improve customer loyalty. A performance-based payment model makes it possible to maintain and recover the value of products, components and materials at the highest possible level. This will  not only benefit the economy, but also social wellbeing and the environment.

Choices in a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) – a case study of paper recycling (blog)

Using a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)  has many benefits. However, it is important to keep in mind that the results of a LCA are determined by the choices the researcher makes. These choices affect indicators, functional unit, allocation and system boundaries. Especially in the circular economy, with its innovations involving recycling, reuse and circular design, LCAs can be quite complex.

An interesting example  of how Life Cycle Assessment results need to be treated very carefully, is the comparison of the life cycles of paper (or board) products produced from virgin and recycled fibres. Read  the whole article