But what is a circular economy, after all?
A model that is often talked about, both within Portugal and internationally, a circular economy is a strategic concept that aims to reduce, reuse, recover and recycle materials and energies, aiming to develop new products/services that are both economically viable and ecologically efficient.
The main objective being to minimise resource extraction, maximise reusing, increase efficiency and develop new business models, a circular economy can be characterised by a focus on maintaining the value of products and materials for as long as possible within the economic cycle.
While a linear model is based on the “produce-use-dispose” principle, thus requiring large quantities of easily accessible materials at low prices, as well as a lot of production energy, circular economies aim to offer consumers products that are both innovative and more durable. In addition to the environmental benefits of the latter, it also contributes to greater security when it comes to supplying raw materials, as well as increased competitiveness and the promotion of innovation, growth and employment.
The main objective of a circular model is that when a product reaches the end of its life cycle, its materials remain within the economy, whenever possible, and can be reused, thus creating value.
Circular economies can, in fact, boost competitiveness by protecting companies against resource scarcity and price volatility, helping create new business opportunities and more innovative and efficient ways of both producing and consuming.