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Circular Economy Economy, Circular Economy<div class="ExternalClass78D22EF44F4A4C098D0256330B02795A">before-blue</div>

The Issue

Designing Out Waste and Pollution

Current Linear System

Current Linear System  

In contrast to today’s 'take-make-waste' linear economy, there is no such thing as waste in a circular economy. Waste and pollution are designed out, products and materials are made to be kept in use, and natural systems are regenerated. Products made from biological ingredients return to the environment, and technical materials are designed to be continuously used, reused and remanufactured.

Systems Change Through Innovation and Collaboration

Accelerating Canada’s transition to a circular economy will require unprecedented levels of innovation and cross-sector collaboration to realize system-wide transformation. It will involve:

  • Design change at the product level to prevent waste and enable durability and reuse
  • New business models that re-imagine our relationships with products and services
  • New policies and regulatory frameworks that create an enabling environment for change
  • Behaviour change to encourage the adoption of new solutions and approaches

Benefits of Systems Change

Realizing Business Benefits

Adopting circular economy approaches can help businesses reduce risks associated with the linear economy and gain a competitive advantage.

Potential business benefits include:

  • Building company brand and reputation
  • Developing new markets and customers, while enhancing customer loyalty
  • Reducing costs for the business, suppliers, and customers
  • Improving security of resource supply and price stability
  • Getting ahead of investor requirements, government policy and regulation
  • Driving continuous rounds of product, process and business model innovation

The circular economy offers significant opportunity for entrepreneurs and innovators to develop new market solutions that disrupt and transform the way we produce, use and consume goods. New circular economy businesses are on the rise and have the potential to drive innovation.

Realizing Climate and Community Benefits

The circular economy has a critical role to play in addressing climate change by tackling emissions associated with how we make and use products, and produce food. Applying circular economy strategies to five key materials (cement, aluminum, steel, plastics, and food) can eliminate almost half of the remaining emissions from the production of those goods – 9.3 billion tonnes of CO2e in 2050.

A circular economic model supports social resilience, equity and inclusion, and can lead to job creation at all skill levels in the labour market. An emerging area of focus globally, additional research is underway to better understand how to grow and protect jobs within a circular economy in a way that is consistent with just transition principles.

Shaping Change

Shaping the Next Revolution and Closing the Circularity Gap

It is now widely recognized that the circular economy is shaping the next industrial revolution. Circle Economy’s 2020 Circularity Gap Report suggests that our world is only 8.6% circular. Stakeholders from across all sectors of the economy must work together in new and different ways to transform the way we produce and use goods. If successful, the transition to a circular economy could realize upwards of $4.5 trillion to the global economy by 2030 by replacing wasted resources, monetizing wasted capacity, recovering wasted embedded values and preventing wasted lifecycles.


Check out our video on the circular economy or take a look at 10 years of programming developed through our ann​ual Zero Waste Conference that showcases global thought leaders and new solutions from around the world and Canada.

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