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Learn more about what circularity is, circular strategies and related concepts

Circular economy

The fundamentals of the Circular Economy

A circular economy and a linear economy differ from each other in the way in which value is created or maintained. In a linear economy, where materials are extracted, processed, used and become waste at the end of their life. Value is created by producing and selling as many products as possible.


Limitless resources for limitless growth.


A circular economy instead seeks to:


Preserve and maximise the value of materials and products at all times, for as long as possible

  1. Maximise the value of the materials, products and other resources that circulate in the economy by maintaining them in the economy for as long as possible (Slowing and Closing loops)

  2. Minimise material use and waste (Narrowing and Closing loops)

  3. Minimise negative environmental impacts along the life-cycle of materials (Narrowing, Slowing and Closing loops)

The three dimensions of a circular economy

The three dimensions of circular economy by Rise Research Institute
  • Recirculation - looping products and materials back into the cycle again - to reduce both waste and resource extraction

  • Endurance - prolonging the lifetime of products and materials so that we can maximise value

  • Utilisation - providing the possibilities to use the products and materials more - decreasing the need for new products and again maximising the value of our resources at all times.

The three resource strategies

Three resource strategies adapted from Nancy Bocken and Paavo Riitala
  • Narrowing the loop: focuses on efficiencies in design and production processes, for example, when a product is manufactured using fewer resources

  • Slowing the loop: Extending the product life in the use phase, so the product remains at its highest value for a long time

  • Closing the loop: reusing material post-consumer usage, recycling

Adapted from Nancy Bocken and Paavo Riitala's paper Six Ways to Build Circular Business Models (2021)

The 10 R:s in a circular economy

The 10 R:s of the circular economy, The R-ladder

Move up the R-ladder!

The 10R:s shows 10 strategies for how to enable reduced resource use and waste. The strategies are shown in hierarchy with the most impactful one at the top. But how do you design a company to incorporate and enable these strategies? Circularista can help you identify how you can move up the ladder!

”If it cannot be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted. Then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production”.

- Pete Seeger

Related concepts

Frameworks for circularity and sustainability
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