Circular Economy

Moving towards a Circular Economy

What is a Circular Economy?

A circular economy is an alternative to the conventional throw away linear economy - make, use, dispose. A circular economy keeps resources in use for long as possible extracting maximum value and minimizing waste and then to recover and/or regenerate new products and materials at the end of each life cycle. In this way overall raw material extraction is kept to an absolute minimum, materials recycled and reused within the economy. Waste becomes a material resource with an associated value. EU´s 2015 implementation plan for Circular Economy addresses aspects related to: Production design and process, consumption, waste management and from waste to resources. In the context of these aspects the concepts of “re-use”, “resource productivity”, “product repair”, “waste to product”, “renewable energy”, “use of renewable ingredient” and “down-cycling” play a very important role.

The Circular Economy offers the opportunity to re-think and re-design the way we make and use products. As well as explores how through a change in perspective we can re-design and build a restorative economy works.

Example: Circular Economy considerations in the context of mayonnaise

Ingredients Processing Final Product
Formulated products Formulated products Formulated products
Concerns/Considerations Concerns/Considerations Concerns/Considerations
Carbon footprint and environmental profile of all ingredients:

  • What ingredients are available?
  • Plant-based ingredient tend to be far more sustainable than animal based ingredient
  • Are there objective ways to assess sustainability?
  • What are the relevant sustainability measurements?
Optimisation of all production steps (sourcing materials, mixing, homogenisation, pumping, packaging, transport) in terms of:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Renewable Energy
  • Resource efficiency: minimising waste of ingredients and other materials used across the whole supply chain
  • Eliminate waste
  • Sustainable ways to increase shelf life
  • Recyclability of all packaging materials
  • Impact of product and ingredient, if it enters the environment, ecosystem and water system
  • Waste management – eliminate and/or minimise post-production and post-consumer waste
Full Life Cycle Assessment to profile environmental impacts

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