Linear economies are characterized by the resource consumption plan of “take-make-use-dispose”. Using this economic approach, raw materials are collected, transformed into finished goods, and then distributed to end-users which eventually turn into waste.
A linear economy accumulates a great deal of landfill waste. In such an economy, valuable materials are often sent to landfills, making it difficult to create secondary value. An additional problem with linear economies is the overuse of land for the disposal of goods. A significant example is that of Melbourne’s recycling sector, which will face an insufficient landfill capacity by 2025, according to an audit of Victoria’s sector conducted in 2019. It is imperative that we adopt a circular economy solution in response to the problems associated with linear economies. A staggering 24% of municipal waste was landfilled in the European Union in 2018, making the need to mitigate landfill accumulation urgently. In order to facilitate the European Union’s transition into a circular economy, the Landfill Directive also sets restrictions on the landfilling of all waste suitable for recycling or energy recovery, from 2030.
The transition from a linear economy to the circular economy:
Modern-day consumers are switching from a passive to a proactive stance toward sustainable consumption. Take (raw materials), make (products), use (consume), dispose (of non-recyclable waste) economic model has revealed to be unsustainable due to both its waste generation and its impact on the environment. Thus, a sustainable solution here is a transition into a circular economy where products are designed to be reused.
Circular economy concepts extend beyond the use of recycled materials. This requires rethinking how products are produced, as well as the impact they have on the environment throughout their useful lives. Circular economies are created to decouple growth from resource consumption instead of utilizing linear models, which create waste. A circular economy model aims to transform mass consumption into responsible consumption through green development.
The circular economy is an innovative business model that involves the complete rethinking of traditional linear approaches to products and services. The circular economy emphasizes better management of resources, reduction of waste and pollution, and closure of loops in resource flows as much as possible. The circular economy strives to eliminate waste and pollution at the design stage, create new models for consumer ownership and retailing, and find new ways to reuse materials. A circular economic system promotes regenerative and restorative outcomes, and, in turn, an economic system that will become more sustainable.