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The circular economy, more than just better waste management

Schema économie circulaire

18 March is World Recycling Day, an opportunity to highlight one of the new sustainable economy models: the circular economy, an economic model that has many advantages, both economically (employment, productivity, resource efficiency) and environmentally.

What is the circular economy?

This model aims to retain the value of products and materials for as long as possible. Waste and resource use are minimized and when a product reaches the end of its life, its resources are kept in the economic cycle to be used to recreate value. The real challenge is therefore to make this transition from the linear to the circular economy as quickly as possible in order to respond positively to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Supporting the development of a circular economy is one of the EU’s priority objectives because of its potential to reduce our impact on the climate and the environment, promote sustainable economic growth, boost competitiveness and create jobs.

An engine for sustainable development that creates jobs
The circular economy is not limited to the recovery or recycling of raw materials. But it also implies thinking upstream, about the design of products. From the outset, we must know how long the product will last and how we will reintegrate the resources that make it into the economic circuit at the end of his life. This model is based on 5 methods:

  • Eco-design (designing a product to last, to be repairable, reusable and recyclable)
  • Industrial ecology (using fewer new resources by pooling needs and recovering waste)
  • Economy of functionality (favouring the use of a product over its possession)
  • Reuse: prolonging the life of a product by giving it away or reselling it
  • Repair, reuse, and recycling (transforming the components of a product into new raw materials)

Moreover, it is a « low carbon » economic model, creating local jobs and producing added value.

Océane

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