Circularity is a term used to describe economic, technical, and environmental systems that strive to reduce waste and maximise resource reuse. Circular systems combine design, recycling, reuse, remanufacturing, and refurbishing to form a closed-loop system that preserves “virgin” resources, minimises waste generation, and maximises waste reuse.
Closing the waste loop has never been more crucial, as population increase puts pressure on our dumpsters, recycling facilities, and natural resources. Moreover, as countries like China close their doors to garbage imports from other countries, there is increasing urgency to move away from a linear economy reaching its limitations.
Circularities and Sustainability
Although circularities help create a more sustainable world, not all sustainability measures do. Circularities are concerned with resource cycles, whereas sustainability is concerned with people, the environment, and the economy in a broader sense. Circularities and sustainability are part of a long line of views, concepts, and ideas related to each other.
Restorative design, pioneered by American academic John T. Lyle in the 1970s, is based on the idea that processes inside all systems may reuse their energy and resources. Within the constraints of nature, society’s demands are also addressed.
The Economy in the Blue
Günter Pauli’s Blue Economic is an economic philosophy that takes knowledge from the formation, production, and consumption of natural systems. This information is applied to the problems we encounter and transformed into solutions for local areas’ specific physical and biological qualities.
The United Nations Environmental Platform (UNEP) defines the Ecological Economy as an economy that increases well-being and social equality while drastically lowering environmental dangers and scarcity.
Ecology of the Industrialisation
The study of material and energy fluxes in which waste from industrial activities is used as a starting material for a future approach is known as industrial ecology. Production methods are modelled after natural processes as closely as possible.
Economy with High Performance
Walter Stahel developed the concept of a closed-circle economy, which includes ideas such as product maintenance, reducing waste, and gene modification. Selling services rather than items is a major component of his philosophy: everyone pays for a product’s performance. The concept of the performance economy emerges as a result of this.
Circularities are a straightforward idea. It indicates that a product is designed with its end-of-life in mind. Once a user is done with development in a circular economy, it is returned to the supply chain rather than ending up in a landfill. In a word, circularities are the movement’s mantra: waste not, want not.
Circularities may appear to be a small issue right now. Still, it’ll inevitably grow more popular in the coming years, especially as younger consumers seek a higher level of engagement with the environmental impact of the products they buy.
Environmental concerns are increasingly dictating economic decisions at all levels of companies, and designers would be wise to keep an eye on circularities and the rapidly changing field of sustainability in general.
In her presentation to the panel, Carr noted that even corporate investing powerhouses like Ishares are talking about sustainability and circularity these days—not a question of if, but when: “[These sustainability initiatives] have evolved beyond something we should do on moral grounds.” It’s now something that no one can dismiss. It influences how investors value a company and what consumers care about,” she explained. “The train has already departed the station,” says the conductor.