A circular economy is built on the idea that closed loops allow maximum value to be extracted from resources. It keeps materials and products in circulation for as long possible. Closing the loop describes the idea that resources can theoretically “loop” around the economy without being lost, but in the linear economy the loop is not closed, leading to resources getting lost. Important measures to close loops include minimizing waste or the use of virgin materials, which also entails maximizing reuse or recycling. In order to become more circular, an important focus should also be set on reducing the need for virgin materials such as closed-loop processes and reusing resources and products as much as possible.
Building a circular economy calls for rethinking at every stage of a product’ life from the design stage, production and use through to the end-of-life. The use-phase of products should be prolonged. Waste from one process can be used as a raw material in another process, which reduces the need for virgin resources, avoids waste, increases resource efficiency and thereby minimizes environmental impacts.