A Circular Economy: Designing out Waste

October 2020
By Kendall Harrow, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Imagine a world without landfills.

Currently, we operate in a linear economy based on the “take, make, waste” cycle. This means we transform resources to create a product and then dispose of it when we no longer deem it valuable.

The alternative is a circular economy, predicated on intention and designing out waste. A circular economy involves technical and biological cycles. The technical cycle manages the use of finite and man-made materials that are recovered, reused and repaired instead of thrown away.

The biological cycle is the consumption of non-toxic, renewable materials followed by regeneration. In this cycle, “waste equals food” and nutrients are returned in order to restart the cycle through composting or anaerobic digestion. In addition to the environmental benefits of reducing waste and pollution, a circular economy inspires innovation, lowers costs and stimulates economic growth.


Source:End of Waste Foundation


Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Towards a Circular Economy: Business Rationale for an Accelerated Transition, December 2015, https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/assets/downloads/TCE_Ellen-MacArthur-Foundation_9-Dec-2015.pdf


About the Author:

Kendall Harrow has been the VanEck Marketing Communications Intern for summer 2020. She is entering her junior year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she is majoring in Business Administration and minoring in Sustainability Studies. At UNC, she is involved in Carolina Thrift, a student-run organization that hosts an annual thrift sale of used items. She is also the creator of UNC Style Switch which connects college women at UNC and allows them to rent out clothes to one another.

The article above is an opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of MV Index Solutions or its affiliates.

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