09. Nov 2021 — Shawn Maholick

Embark on a journey through the history and principles of the circular economy, from early visionaries like Boulding to modern innovators such as Braungart and McDonough. Explore the transformative strategies of waste prevention, ecodesign, and recycling, guiding us towards a more resilient and regenerative future.

The History of Circular Economy

There was no single creator of a circular economic vision. The term is mainly used in the 21st century, but the principles behind it were first mentioned in the middle of the twentieth century.

Kenneth Boulding’s The Economics of the Coming Spaceship Earth (1966), Herman Daly’s view of ‘solid economy’ since 1974, and Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002) by Michael Braungart and Bill McDonough are cheap books. on the topic.

Throughout human history, the practice of extracting natural resources has been practiced, by agriculture, fishing, hunting, mining, etc., processing, utilizing and disposing of resources. While it is true that since this economic model economic growth has accelerated, as has recently happened in several countries such as China and India, little attention is paid to the problems posed by this economic model.

What is the Circular Economy?

Round economy is the evolution of the way the world produces and consumes both goods and services. The circular model redefines the economy in terms of waste design and pollution policies, keeping products and products in use for as long as possible. Equally important is restoring the world’s wilderness, building renewable agricultural systems, using renewable resources, and switching to renewable energy sources.

Many companies have recently realized the difficulties they face in following this economic model, among them, the risk of under-acquisition and the price of the raw materials used in their processes, for example, metallurgy or precious metals. The problem of access to resources can be very serious, given the growing population growth rate, especially in the African and Asian regions, estimated at 8 billion by 2030 and 9 billion by 2050, in addition to growth. in the expected life span of each individual present.

Similarly, rapid and rapid excavation of natural resources has led to and intensified negative environmental impacts, such as air, soil and water pollution, acidity in the marine environment, biodiversity loss, inefficient waste management, and even favorable climate change. are major factors in promoting systematic change in the way goods are produced and used.

Waste generated by resource exploitation can be seen throughout the production chain, from production to production. It is estimated that each year OECD countries use 21 billion tons of non-commercial products, which means that 21 billion tons of waste is no longer used in any way.

What Are the Benefits?

Measures such as waste prevention, ecodesign signing and recycling may save EU companies money while also reducing annual emissions. Currently, the production of our daily consumption accounts for 45% of the CO2 emitted. Progress in the global economy can bring benefits such as reducing environmental pressure, improving the security of raw materials, increasing competition, innovation, boosting economic growth (by more than 0.5% of gross domestic product), and creating jobs (700,000 jobs in the EU alone in 2030).

How Does Circularity Relate to Sustainability?

Circularity contributes to a stable world, but not all stability systems contribute to rotation. The circle is centered on resource cycles, while sustainability is closely linked to people, the planet and the economy. Cycle and sustainability are rooted in a long tradition of related ideas, models and ideas. Here are some examples. In addition, we briefly describe how circularity is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Renovation Design

The idea of ​​a restoration design, developed by American professor John T. Lyle in the 1970s, is that processes within all systems can reuse their power and building materials. Demand from the community is also met within the boundaries of nature.

Bio-Based Economie

A bio-based economy is an economy that does not use mineral oil, but an economy that uses biomass as a raw material. In the biobased economy it is about the use of biomass for non-food applications.

Breaking the Plastic Cycle

Circular economy returns and renews design. This means that the materials always flow around the ‘closed loop’ system, rather than being used once and then discarded. In the case of plastic, this means simultaneously storing the value of plastic in the economy, without leaking it into the natural environment. Plastic offers many benefits, can store fresh food during transport without adding too much weight and as a result reduces transport emissions and food waste compared to other methods. But it also creates serious problems. Its production is highly dependent on the use of mineral resources. It can take decades, even centuries, to decay. Like micro plastics, it poisons and suppresses land and sea creatures. Currently the earth is failing to hold the plastics before they enter the environment.

It is estimated that by the year 2050 there will be a plastic bag heavier than seafood. The inefficient markets for recycled plastic are one of the major obstacles to the round plastic economy, which poses a challenge to improving world recycling standards. To drive demand, companies should commit to using post-consumer resin (PCR) where possible. Using PCR will revitalize the need for building materials, creating significant storage markets that enable home distribution. Another option is from recycled plastic to recycled plastic. Other alternatives such as reusable coffee cup schemes or filling islands in supermarkets. Finally, plastic products need to be redesigned considering recycling using individual polymer plastic. The European Union (EU) is currently leading the way, setting a major goal of making all plastic packages fully usable by 2030.


In the cradle-to-cradle model, developed by Michael Braungart, industrial and commercial materials are considered immature materials for technological and biological reuse. Design from birth to birth – in the process of designing the entire product life cycle and the immature materials used are considered. Technological resources do not contain hazardous components in the environment; biological materials can decompose completely.


In conclusion, the journey through the circular economy illuminates a path towards a more sustainable and resilient future. By embracing principles of waste prevention, ecodesign, and recycling, we not only mitigate environmental degradation but also foster innovation, economic growth, and social well-being. As we navigate the complexities of our global challenges, the circular economy stands as a beacon of hope, offering a blueprint for transformative change that honors the interconnectedness of humanity and the planet.

Shawn Maholick

Shawn Maholick

Seasoned Tech Expert and Software Developer Sharing Insights on Organizational Scalability and Sustainable Practices for the Modern Tech Landscape.