3 - What is the circular economy?

The circular economy means one thing -
enough for everyone, forever.

The circular economy is a direct challenge to the 'take-make-waste' mentality of the linear economy. In a circular economy waste is minimised and resources maximised through long-lasting design, maintenance, repair, reuse, remanufacturing, recycling and up-cycling.

A diagram on 'The Circular Economy'

Find out how the linear economy is failing people and the planet and what we can do to close the global circularity gap - The Global Circularity Report

Seven strategies organisations can adopt to implement circularity:

The circular economy can be characterised by seven key elements. Each element highlights a core strategy that businesses and organisations can employ to implement circularity.

Prioritise regenerative resources

Ensure renewable, reusable, non-toxic resources are utilised as materials and energy in an efficient way.


Design for the future

Adopt a systematic perspective during the design process, to employ the right materials for appropriate lifetime and extended future use.


Preserve and extend what's already made

Maintain, repair and upgrade resources in use to maximise their lifetime and give them a second life through take-back strategies, where applicable.


Rethink the business model

Consider opportunities to create greater value and align incentives through business models that build on the interaction between products and services.


Incorporate digital technology

Track and optimise resource use and strengthen connections between supply chain actors through digital, online platforms and technologies.


Use waste as a resource

Utilise waste streams as a source of secondary resources and recover waste for reuse and recycling.


Collaborate to create joint value

Work together throughout the supply chain, internally within organisations and with the public sector to increase transparency and create joint value.


Facts and figures

A circular Scotland can generate £2.3-3 billion each year in cost savings and value added

11 million tonnes CO2e can be cut each year in a circular Scotland

43,000 new Scottish jobs can be created by 2030, of which 14,600 could be net jobs

A circular economy can boost innovation and the competitiveness of Glasgow’s businesses