Linear economic models have dominated since the start of the industrial era. Traditionally, resources have been harvested, exploited, and then discarded as trash. The traditional linear economy based on the “take-make-dispose” production and consumption model has thrown the planet’s capacity out of balance, leading to a growing coalition of scientists, innovators, policy-makers, and consumers calling for a switch to closed-loop production and consumption systems that minimize waste and emissions as well as material and energy losses, particularly in a world that is growing in both population and wealth.
Numerous essential resources are not only limited in supply or becoming more and more difficult to access, but also their exploitation and single-use can have negative effects on the environment and society. Moving toward a more circular economy, where production and consumption are sustainable for long-term economic growth, is an alternative to the linear model and a potential answer to some of its problems. By 2030, the adoption of the circular economy could create an estimated USD 4.5 trillion in value worldwide, with cutting-edge technology offering fresh approaches to the development of service models and the value extraction from closed-loop systems.