A circular economy aims to addresses a range of imminent challenges, including climate change, biodiversity loss, and the over-consumption of finite resources, by reducing the wasteful and resource-hungry processes of conventional, linear, models of production and consumption.
While conventional models of resource use follow a linear path--from resource extraction, manufacturing, distribution, consumption and disposal--circular economies place a greater focus on the “sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling” of materials already in use in the economy. This extends the value of products and resources, while also reducing the demand for primary and finite resources, and reducing the amount of waste products and pollution being released back into the environment.
Circular economies, and related concepts such as Industrial Ecology and Urban Metabolism, are inspired by the flows of materials and energies in biological systems like ecosystems, where the wastes from one process can become the ‘food’, or resource/energy input, into a subsequent process.
-  Ellen MacArthur Foundation, ‘Circular Economy Introduction’ <https://ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/topics/circular-economy-introduction/overview>.
-  European Parliament, ‘Circular Economy: Definition, Importance and Benefits | News | European Parliament’ (24 May 2023) <https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/economy/20151201STO05603/circular-economy-definition-importance-and-benefits> (‘Circular Economy’).