The concept of Circular Economy has emerged in order to further promote the idea of sustainable development. The traditional open economies have been evolved in a way that does not prioritize recycling, that results in transforming the environment in a waste disposal site. This further results in more pressure on the ecosystems and the environment, as well as continuous economic repercussions on businesses and industries, high level of pollution and non-sustainable development models.
So far, the economy has been functioned upon the model of ‘take-make-dispose’ that leads every product to the ‘end of life’ stage. Valuable materials are being used on food production, building of infrastructure and houses, production of consumer goods or energy supply. When such products are consumed or when they are no longer useful, they end up being dumped. However, increase in population and wealth also resulted, more than ever, in the increase in demand for rare raw materials leading to environmental degradation. Subsequently, this leads to the increase in the price of metals and ores, fossil fuels, feed and food, but also clear water and fertile soils.
Every year, European Union uses 15 tones materials per person, while every European citizen produces and average of more than 4,5 tons of waste on a yearly basis, half of which ends up in waste landfills. Linear Economy, that is solely based on mining, no longer consists of a valuable choice. The transfer to a Circular Economy requires to change our focus in reuse, repair, refurbishment and recycling of the existing materials and products. That means that, what was so far considered as waste, it can be transferred to raw material. Circular Economy can provide alternative solutions for sustainable economic development through the promotion of an industrial economy that produces zero waste and zero pollution, and offers opportunities to redefine the economic model upon a new more efficient and competitive one that can bring substantial benefits to the businesses, industries and local communities.
This transfer to a Circular Economy requires the participation and engagement of a lot and different groups of people. The role of the policy makers is to provide the necessary requirements, the predictability and the confidence to the businesses, to reinforce the role of the consumers and to define how the citizens can ensure the benefits of the changes that will emerge.
Business sector is in the position to redesign all the supply chains aiming at the efficiency of the sources and at circularity. Such a systemic transition is supported by the developments in the field of information technologies and communication, and also the ones related to the social change. Thus, Circular Economy can create new markets that will be able to answer to that transition of the consumption model from the traditional regime, and its new perspective of reuse and redistribution of products that further contributes to the increase in employment rate.
Circular Economy has been defined as one of the basic priorities of the European Commission for the year of 2015 as shown via the adoption of the EU action plan for the Circular Economy. According to this action plan, the transition to a Circular Economy will contribute to the transition to a more sustainable, efficient and more competitive economy with low levels of CO2 emissions and a more efficient use of the existing resources. Circular Economy is going to reinforce the level of competitiveness in the EU, protecting at the same time the businesses from the lack of resources and from the imbalance in prices and thus contributing in the creation of new business opportunities and innovative and more efficient ways of production and consumption.