A circular economy is a systemic approach to economic development designed to benefit businesses, society, and the environment. In contrast to the ‘take-make-waste’ linear model, a circular economy is regenerative by design and aims to gradually decouple growth from the consumption of finite resources. After defining what an economy actually is, this learning path explores the nuances of the concept of a circular economy, including the difference between biological and technical materials, the different opportunities that exist to keep materials and products in use, and the history of the idea. Finally, the benefits of shifting from a linear to a circular economy are highlighted.
WHAT IS THE ECONOMY? 什么是经济？
To understand the circular economy we first need to understand what an economy actually is.
In this video, Ken Webster takes us right back to the basics of what an economy is.
What is economy? It asks three questions really. 经济是什么？ 实际上就是问三个问题：
-what to produce? -生产什么？
-how to produce it? -怎么生产？
-who gets the benefit? -谁受益？
Every economy has 每一个经济系统都有
-flows of material -物质流动
-flows of energy -能量流动
-flows of information, particularly money -信息流动，特别是货币流动
THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY 循环经济
An economy that is restorative and regenerative by design.
In a circular economy, economic activity builds and rebuilds overall system health. The concept recognises the importance of the economy needing to work effectively at all scales – for big and small businesses, for organisations and individuals, globally and locally.
It is based on three principles: 它基于三个原则：
Design out waste and pollution 将废物和污染设计出局
Keep products and materials in use 保持产品和材料持续使用
Regenerate natural systems 反哺自然系统
DESIGN OUT WASTE AND POLLUTION 将废物和污染设计出局
What if waste and pollution were never created in the first place?
A circular economy reveals and designs out the negative impacts of economic activity that cause damage to human health and natural systems. This includes the release of greenhouse gases and hazardous substances, the pollution of air, land, and water, as well as structural waste such as traffic congestion.
KEEP PRODUCTS AND MATERIALS IN USE 保持产品和材料持续使用
What if we could build an economy that uses things rather than uses them up?
A circular economy favours activities that preserve value in the form of energy, labour, and materials. This means designing for durability, reuse, remanufacturing, and recycling to keep products, components, and materials circulating in the economy. Circular systems make effective use of bio-based materials by encouraging many different uses for them as they cycle between the economy and natural systems.
REGENERATE NATURAL SYSTEMS 反哺自然系统
What if we could not only protect, but actively improve the environment?
A circular economy avoids the use of non-renewable resources and preserves or enhances renewable ones, for instance by returning valuable nutrients to the soil to support regeneration, or using renewable energy as opposed to relying on fossil fuels.
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT 停一下，想一想
Having just learnt the three principles of the circular economy, how would you describe the principles that underpin the current, linear economy?
My Answer 我的回答：
生产什么：Aim to keep GDP growing 以保持生产总值增长为目标
怎么生产：Produce efficiently, regardless of waste 高效产出，不考虑废弃物
谁受益：Return on investment 投资方受益
What is your opinion? 你怎么看？