The Circular Economy is a model for an economy which is able to operate with no external resource inputs. It represents an economy where resources are never lost – materials and energy within the economy are reused endlessly, and their reuse is achieved without the need to add new resources into the economy to sustain the older ones. In a country where we produce 76 mega tonnes of waste a year, and recycle/reuse only 63% of that (source), Australia has a long way to go to become circular. What motivation do we have to go circular? Australia currently uses around 4 times more resources than the planet can sustain (source). Any moves toward circularity will reduce that consumption toward more sustainable levels.
According to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation: “In our current economy, we take materials from the Earth, make products from them, and eventually throw them away as waste – the process is linear. In a circular economy, by contrast, we stop waste being produced in the first place.” The foundation is a wonderful resource on the Circular Economy, and we strongly recommend that anyone interested in learning more about it explore their website Ellen Macarthur Foundation. Closer to home, the Australian Circular Economy Hub is growing into a very good resource too.