Circular economy and recycling
A circular economy is an economic system that aims to make optimum use of resources and minimize the uneconomical use of resources.
Such an economic system works in a cycle and thus eliminates the term "waste". The aim is to produce goods and services while at the same time severely limiting the consumption and waste of raw materials and the use of non-renewable energy sources.
Sustainable use in the environmental service branch does not lead to a decline in the quality of life or to a drop-in turnover.
The environmental service branch comprises products, infrastructure, and services and can be applied to any industrial sector. This includes both "technical" (metals, minerals, fossil resources) and "biological" resources (biomass, wood, etc.).
An example of a circular economic model is the implementation of rental models in traditional areas of ownership (e.g. electronics, clothing, furniture, transport). By letting the same product to several customers, manufacturers can increase sales per unit and thus reduce the need for more production to increase sales.
Recycling initiatives are often referred to as circular economy and are the most widely used models. Circular models can thus be defined as business models that integrate recycling measures, efficiency improvements, a more intensive use phase, and the substitution of products by service and software solutions.
“Cradle to Cradle" is a biomimetic approach to the design of products and systems that models human industry on nature and considers materials as "nutrients" that circulate in a metabolism.
The concept is a holistic, economic, industrial, and social framework aimed at developing systems that are not only efficient but also essentially waste-free.
The Cradle to Cradle approach can be applied not only to industrial processes, but also to other systems (social systems, linear economic systems, etc.).