The uniformity of the linear economy and its "take, make, waste" philosophy which was very successful in bringing economic development through the 20th century - is no longer relevant to the progress of the 21st century. Our trade and production systems mainly follow the linear model and do not pay attention to how the product and its components can be reused in the future.
Today's production method, a linear process with a beginning and an end, takes the raw materials from the environment and turns them into new products which are returned to the same environment after use as non-degradable waste. In this system the raw materials that are extracted from natural resources and used, are eventually consumed. As a result, many sources are produced for a single use and are eventually classified as waste. In this way garbage is accumulated, either in landfills, or as in the case of Kosovo and many other countries, the part that does not go to landfills, ends up dumped in nature (land, roads, parks, mountains, rivers, lakes, etc.).
The antonym of the linear economy model is the circular economy. Circular economy (circular, -e / adjective / - circular; circular motion; rotation) is an industrial system that intentionally regenerates and restores resources and materials based on a sustainable design & business model. It replaces the death concept of product life with regeneration, shifts to renewable energies, eliminates the use of toxic chemicals that disrupt biosphere recovery, and aims to eliminate waste through a new design process of materials, products, systems and models.
In Circular Economiy the product is designed for sustainability, reuse and recyclability while the materials for that product come from the old ones. Everything is used to the end and then reused, reproduced, upcycled, recycled and returned to raw material where nothing is considered as waste.
In general, when we look beyond the actuality of the “take, make, waste” model, a circular economy aims to redefine development and success by focusing on the positive benefits of society as a whole. It gradually detaches economic activity from profit and unreasonable consumption, exploitation of depleted natural resources and repetitive and endless waste design.
The basis of the circular economy has three principles:
- Design without waste and pollution (zerowaste), to keep products and materials in use and regeneration of natural systems.
- Distinguishing between technical and biological cycles. Consumption occurs only in biological cycles, where biologically based materials (such as food, linen or lid) are designed to be digested in the ecosystem through anaerobic digestion and composting processes.
- These cycles regenerate living systems, such as soil and water, and provide renewable energy & materials to the economy - lowering or even eliminating the greenhouse gas emissions.
Exactly one of the goals of the circular economy is to optimize the efficiency of resources by circulating the product, components and materials in use with high utility all the time in both biological and technical cycles. Its latest principle states that the energy needed to ignite this cycle must necessarily be renewable by nature, in order to reduce dependence on depleted natural resources and increase the sustainability of systems. By this we understand that this principle has to do with the development and empowerment of systems by eliminating in time the negative sides of the design and by planning the product consciously towards both the nature and the longevity of that product.
The main purpose of the circular economy is to have positive impacts on the planet's ecosystem and to combat the over-exploitation of natural resources. This type of economy has the potential to reduce greenhouse gases and the use of raw material, optimize agricultural production and reduce the negative external impacts that come with the linear economy model.
In today's world, risks and threats to the environment are more urgent than ever on the political, social and economic agenda. The impact of economic activity on the balance of nature makes us more attentive to the conditions to preserve it and keep it habitable so that future generations can live. It is not enough to believe in the regulatory role of governments, international agencies and various companies to be aware of the situation, when even the bright opinion of the public should play a key role in preventing these threats. A noble vigilance should also come from producers (such as oil companies, mass production companies, etc.) because over 90% of the symptoms of environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emissions impacting climate change are a contribution of today's business model.
The annual cost of the impacts of pollution, ecosystem destruction and the influence it has on food and our immune system is a call for change and ASAP! This change starts from us.
It is not surprising that complaints about the assimilation and affirmation of the vitality of this concept of circular economy come from the traditional business sectors. The circular economy promises to double profit, while on the other hand it also obliges businesses to adopt innovation and creativity processes that create sustainable and ecological production chains. So it requires change in the essence of creation.
The concept of what we deem “success” needs to be redefined and needs to contribute to the common good of the planet, animals and civilization. And it is in this capacity for regulation and inclusiveness of change that our future depends on.