In the linear economy, we run out of resources, the products are made not to last and the trash piles up.
Transport, chemicals, energy...
In the recycling economy, a lot of effort is necessary to transform waste to manufacture products. The primary purpose of recycling is reduce waste in landfill.
Product designed to minimize waste and last longer
Product designed to minimize resource
Waste designed to limit resource extraction
In the circular economy, every step of design is carefully thought for a long product life, minimize waste, reduce resource extraction, to mimic the cycles of nature.
WAIT, WHAT'S WRONG WITH RECYCLING?
In other words, recycling is good if approached holistically, incorporating the principles of the circular economy.
Nothing is "wrong" with recycling, but the very concept means that we have missed an opportunity to minimize waste. In nature, the bio-system is a perfect closed loop system. Humans are the only species that create waste that is external to the bio-system, and finding value in it can be both complex and expensive. It's time to develop our economic activities to reflect the natural environment; a continuous cycle where everything has a purpose. That is the driving philosophy behind true sustainability.
Transitioning to a circular economy represents a systemic shift in which recycling is a part in the overall waste reduction strategy. However, in a circular economy every step in the supply chain operation is considered in order to reduce negative environmental impacts and amplify the benefits.