Concept and Practice of the Circular Economy
Jul 25, 2018
Abstract. Circular Economy (CE) is a concept that would turn goods at the end of their service life into resources for others, closing loops in industrial ecosystems, minimizing waste and following sustainable methods. A report of the European Commission in 2014 estimated that with a Circular Economy type transitions in the EU countries can create 600 billion euros annual economic gains for the EU manufacturing sector. Even China after many years of rapid economic growth adopted the Circular Economy concept in the last two ‘Five Year Plans’ drawn up by the Chinese government. China understands that is imperative to change course in the use of raw materials, energy sources and industrial processes which produce excessive waste. Circular Economy is connected with sustainable development. It is a system of resources utilization where reduction, reuse and recycling of materials prevails, cutting down waste to a minimum and with the use of biodegratable products recycle the rejected products back to the environment. In the last decades many national and international companies followed research on Circular Economy and incorporated projects related with best practices of CE. The scientific literature contains large number of best practice examples of CE from well known commercial enterprises and businesses or research groups in industrial countries. The majority of practices are useful models to recycle and reuse materials for the same or new products, reducing energy use and offering drastic reduction of waste. Germany, United Kingdom, France, the USA, the Netherlands, China, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and other countriers have advanced projects of Circular Economy after the concept was researched extensively and new solutions and innovations on reuse were discovered. The textile sector, the clothing sector and the durable goods sector (electrical, electronic, carpets, furniture, etc) have advanced some interesting examples of circular economy. This review presents the basic concept of CE and its association with sustainable development in developed and developing countries. Also, the review presents pioneering CE solutions that benefits the environment, the climate and the economy. Case studies and examples of companies that design their products in such a way that the lifetime of the products is extended and materials or components can be reused and recycled at a high value in the economy.
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