From a linear to a circular economy

A circular economy is a climate-resilient economy. There is very little waste and wastage. Products and raw materials can be reused or repurposed.

Reusing products and raw materials

In a circular economy, people will be able to reuse nearly all products again and again. If a product is broken, it will be repaired. And if that is no longer possible, new products will be made from it. In a circular economy, waste is the new raw material. A product’s life is no longer a straight line from being produced to being consumed and then discarded. 

This saves raw materials, the environment and reduces CO2 emissions. It stimulates innovation, new business activity and employment.

Circular economy in practice

In a circular economy, manufacturers design products to be reusable. For example, electrical devices are designed in such a way that they are easier to repair. Products and raw materials are also reused as much as possible. Plastic can be recycled into pellets for making new plastic products.

In a circular economy consumers can choose to share products they only use occasionally, such as a power drill or a car, instead of buying them. This means products are used more intensively, so that fewer products need to be made, reducing raw materials use.  

In a circular economy we treat our environment responsibly. For example, by preventing litter on the streets or in the natural environment. The government is already taking steps in this direction. It has banned free plastic bags, for example. More than 80% of consumers say they often or always take their own bag instead of buying a single-use plastic bag from the shop.

Consumer behaviour needs to change for a circular economy

A well-functioning circular economy doesn’t only depend on the government and industry. Consumers, too, have a role to play: choosing sustainable products must become the new standard. Consumers also contribute to a circular economy by using things longer, repairing them or taking them to a second-hand shop. The government wants to stimulate this behaviour by giving the circular economy a place in education and by running public awareness campaigns.