How Circular Economy Can Contribute to Sustainable Living

The current economic market comprises the production and manufacture of different products. These items are then sold, used, and eventually thrown away as waste.

However, the good news is that the market is currently adopting and exercising a circular economy constituting fundamental principles such as reducing, reusing, and recycling as a basis for sustainable living.

A circular economy is a system solution model that limits the excessive waste of raw materials and consumed products. This framework exists to tackle international issues such as waste pollution, climate change, and loss of biodiversity.

For a long time, the ecosystem was prone to short-term consumption resulting in an unsustainable situation globally. However, with the circular economy, times have changed as it constitutes a global strategy directly involved with sustainable development.

Keep reading this article to understand more about the circular economy, its benefits, and its connection with sustainable development.

Difference Between Linear and Circular Economy

A linear economy is a traditional economic model comprising the collection and processing of raw materials and transforming them into manufactured products later used by consumers and discarded as waste. This economy prioritizes profit more than sustainability as it is not concerned about the negative impact of waste on the ecological footprint.

Whereas three basic principles drive the circular economy. They include:

  • Eradicating waste and pollution. Here, the circular economy can shift people’s thinking of waste as a design flaw. Many products such as steel, plastics, glass, and paper waste can be repaired, remanufactured, recycled, and reused instead of thrown away as waste.
  • Regenerating nature. Note that biodegradable waste and fossil fuels are valuable components that support regeneration. For example, today farmers use cow dung waste as manure for agricultural production.
  • Circulating materials within the market. Here waste products can be retained as raw materials reusable for other purposes in the market production.

Why Switch to a Circular Economy?

As the worldwide population continues to increase, so does the demand for raw materials. However, the bad news is the supply of these materials is limited.

According to a report by the European Union, over 2.5 billion tons of waste are generated annually. However, there are no effective waste management solutions; this negatively affects the ecosystem.

As such, there is a need for the market industries to switch to a circular economy as it aims at closing the loops of resource flow. With an understanding that smart use of raw materials can lower pollution, the circular economy model is beneficial.

It mainly emphasizes shifting how materials are extracted, made, used, and repurposed, creating new consumer ownership and fewer waste emissions and pollution.

Benefits of Circular Economy

Here are some amazing benefits of the circular economy:

It Aims at Zero Waste Emissions

The main aim of the circular economy is reusing resources and products, reducing any aspect of waste production.

Zero waste, in this case, means there is less garbage disposal, especially non-biodegradable waste such as plastics, paper, metal, and glass. It can also mean fewer landfills and the need for renewable mining resources.

Implementing the circular economy model significantly allows the ecosystem to thrive and creates better economic opportunities for industries to grow and manage waste.

It is Business Friendly

Reusing and recycling waste materials can greatly benefit companies as it results in the emergence of new industries.

Companies also gain more job availability and provide more employment opportunities for job seekers and consumers. The model allows them to focus less on new raw materials and more on recycled products.

For instance, businesses dealing with refurbished old items and electronics emerge. It also applies to existing companies because it grants them an opportunity to decrease their cost of raw materials and production, increasing their efficiency.

Additionally, this practice allows businesses to attract customers interested in buying used items at cheaper prices translating to increased customer loyalty.

It Increases Job Opportunities

A 2018 study estimated that a transition to the circular economy could allow global markets to create 500,000 new jobs reducing unemployment.  

Jobs initially lost in the linear economy can be created using the circular economy. This is because of the emergence of new industries dealing with reusable products. For instance, thrift clothes are examples of reusable products.

A circular economy allows you to resell already used clothes, gaining a high consumer base and loyalty. At the same time, it allows you to employ more people in your stores creating more job opportunities for the skilled masses ensuring your business thrives in the market.

Decreases Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that food and other waste account for over 170 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

It is not a secret that these GHG emissions affect the ozone layer, translating to negative climate changes. As such, switching to a circular economy that cuts across agriculture, water, energy, and climate change sectors is vital.

This model encourages the use of renewable resources and the reusing of materials reducing waste emissions and ultimately lowering carbon emissions.

What is the Relationship Between Circular Economy and Sustainability?

A circular economy is perceived as a sustainable economic model that focuses on recirculating and repurposing natural resources to reduce waste and pollution.

As such, in recent years, it has gained much popularity as it has presented valuable solutions that cut across sustainable development goals (SDGs). The circular economy aims to improve agriculture, energy, water and sanitation, and climate change sectors to impact sustainable living positively.

That said, the circular economy relates to sustainability as it encourages and employs different business models and technologies, reducing the number of unsustainable products. For example, reducing, repairing, redesigning, and recycling principles results in less waste disposal. Thus, it helps fade out toxic substances and efficiently improve the natural environment.

In addition, the UN discusses reducing the pressure on natural resources that could have threatened biodiversity loss and allows individuals to come up with new inventions of repurposing raw materials and old waste, positively impacting sustainable living choices.


What is clear is that a linear economy is not a sustainable living choice. However, adopting the circular economy awards businesses a better chance at gaining customer loyalty, a competitive advantage over others, and, most importantly, targets sustainable living.

In particular, it focuses more on fundamentally circulating the resources through recycling, reducing, remanufacturing, and reusing materials instead of wasting them. This process is critical to maintaining a balanced ecosystem ideal for humans and other living organisms to thrive.  

That said, the circular economy is the ideal economic model as it leaves no chance for environmental degradation or unsustainable living.

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