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What is the circular economy?

Beyond the concept of productivity and based on environmental maintenance and sustainability criteria, this new economic model emerges to reuse and reduce the consumption of raw materials.

Plantas en representación de la economía circular

Have you ever wondered how the traditional economic model works? The different actors in this process collect the raw materials from the natural environment and introduce them into the production chain. From there they go to the shops and pass into the hands of the consumer to finally become waste.

We are facing a system based on the limited use of nature's resources with a great impact on the planet. The linear economy, which is the name of this widespread model, has evolved to give way to other structures that include various actions that can help solve this global problem.

Among other things, in recent years we have seen the birth of a new economic model based on sustainability. This is what is known as the circular economy and is based on the reuse of raw materials and the reduction of their consumption.

 

From linear to circular economy

The circular economy goes far beyond the production of goods. Water resources, materials and even energy sources can enter into this new model. All those limited assets that are susceptible to disappear must be managed under a careful effort of control and analysis that allows their use in a constant way without reaching the total loss of them.

The initial proposal of the circular economy starts from the conceptual idea of closing the circle of the traditional model, giving a new life to the products already used and optimizing the materials with which they are manufactured.

It is a process that not only affects the last step of the linear model, but is present from the beginning of production. Products and services are designed with the intention of consuming the least possible amount of raw materials and that the final result can also be reused.

“The search for new cycles of use for products that have already gone through their first lifespan is one of the keys to the sustainability of this model.“

 

The new consumption models of the circular economy

Respect for the environment is the main pillar of this new economic model which everyone is a part of. People are changing their habits to adapt to this new sustainable culture that permeates everything.

These new behaviours require never-before-seen services that provide value from a sustainability perspective. This is how we have seen service-sharing platforms take shape. One of the most common examples is mobility: from scooters and electric vehicles in the city to car sharing for long distances.

Many products are changing their usual structure to become services in themselves, such as music and video streaming. In this way, both companies and users stop thinking about products in a linear way and take an interest in a more circular and therefore more sustainable market.

One of the main benefits of these new services is their expansion. A circular economy is able to reach sectors in which the linear model once led to significant environmental costs. One example is sustainable tourism and its relationship with the over-use of elements with a very short lifespan.

The first texts that mention the circular economy date back to the 1980s. They used terms such as the environment and economy to highlight the need to modify the traditional system. Several decades later, the circular economy has begun to take root, although companies and users still have a long way to go.

Will you join in the circular culture?

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