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Moving from a linear to a circular economy

Defining the circular and linear economy

Circular economy refers to an economic model of production and consumption in which final materials are reused and recycled back into the cycle as much as possible. Waste is kept to a minimum. When a product reaches the end of its life, its materials reenter the cycle through recycling, reusing, repairing or other methods whenever possible. The waste hierarchy is one commonly used method to support a circular economy.

Linear economy, on the other hand, is an economic model in which products are consumed or used once and then discarded. Final materials are not reused or recycled. Many of today’s products are designed for a linear economy model, which contributes to excess waste and pollution.
The key difference between circular and linear economies comes down to what happens to the products, packaging and materials after it is used. If all materials are thrown away as waste, without any consideration for reuse or recycling, the product’s life cycle reflects a linear economy. If the final materials are reused and recycled as many times as possible, the life cycle reflects a circular economy.

Why we need to move away from a linear economy

Around the world, pollution has increased and expanded its reach. Landfills continue to grow and near capacity. In order to protect our environment, we need to move away from a linear economy and toward a circular economy wherever possible. This will minimize waste and maximize resources.

Trends driving the circular economy

Recyclability starts during product development, and design innovation is essential to opening new sustainable opportunities.

Marta Clavero
IMCD Spain





What challenges do customers and suppliers face when it comes to improving recyclability?
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Reusability has a major impact on plastic waste footprint, energy consumption and the reduction of emissions and waste. 

Jan Hostettler
IMCD France






Where should businesses start when it comes to producing reusable products?
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Bio-based content and technologies are the next great leap towards a circular economy. 


Frank Yang
IMCD China






How are attitudes and approaches to bio-based evolving across regions and industries?
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CO2 reduction & energy consumption requires a holistic approach and smart design to create effeciencies.

Dan Andersson
IMCD Sweden



What do consumers and businesses still need to understand when it comes to reducing CO2 emissions?

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Want to uncover the advanced materials trends leading us to a circular economy?

Frequently asked questions

Materials are used and reused as long as they continue to provide value. This cycle reduces waste and pollution, while maximizing resources.

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