The world is today operating in a linear economy that extracts natural resources, produces energy or goods which are disposed in the form of pollution or waste. This “take, make, waste” system has generated prosperity and wealth in many parts of the world, but has also polluted the planet and the atmosphere. The consequences are climate change, the degradation of the environment, and loss of biodiversity. To avoid environmental catastrophes, there is an urgent need for a rapid transition away from the linear economy towards sustainable economic systems.
The circular economy offers such an alternative. In its ideal form, a circular economy is a regenerative economic system that uses renewable energy and resources, reuses materials and products as long as possible, and recycles resources rather than disposing them as waste. This report analyzes the necessary conditions for a move towards a circular economy and examines government policies that can foster the transition towards such a regenerative economy.