The Circular Economy is one of the big trends industrial trends of the new century – or at least it will be. The graph above demonstrates the main reason why.
Over the past century, advances in technology and cheap global transport has pushed down the price of raw materials for industry. That has come to an abrupt end as rising demand from developing countries coincides with the peaking of conventional oil production and the depletion of other key resources.
Increasingly, stewarding resources for the future is not just a sustainability policy, but good business sense. New business models are emerging that focus on creating things for re-use or recycling, and existing businesses are adapting to lower their resource costs. The more materials-intensive the business, the greater the incentive to keep circulating resources rather than losing them into waste streams.
- The graph above is from Towards the Circular Economy, the third research volume from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
- More on the Circular Economy.