Circular economy is most efficient when it can readily connect inputs to outputs

What is circular economy?

Circular Economy

A circular economy strives to maximize the circulation of products, components and materials and the value bound to them as much as possible in the economy. In a circular economy, production and consumption create the smallest possible amount of loss and waste. Material efficiency leads to environmental benefits that a world striving to distance itself from overconsumption needs to ensure sustainable development. The circular economy model synthesises several major schools of thought. They include the functional service economy (performance economy) of Walter Stahel; the Cradle to Cradle design philosophy of William McDonough and Michael Braungart; biomimicry as articulated by Janine Benyus; the industrial ecology of Reid Lifset and Thomas Graedel; natural capitalism by Amory and Hunter Lovins and Paul Hawken; and the blue economy systems approach described by Gunter Pauli.

What is circular economy?

Circular Economy

A circular economy strives to maximize the circulation of products, components and materials and the value bound to them as much as possible in the economy. In a circular economy, production and consumption create the smallest possible amount of loss and waste.

Natural capital

Preserve and enhance natural capital by controlling finite stocks and balancing renewable resource flows.

Circulating products

Optimise resource yells by circulating products, components, and materials at the highest utility  in both technical and biological cycles.

System effectiveness

Foster system effectiveness by revealing and designing out negative externalities.

What are the specifics of circular economy?

Circular economy from different perspective

A circular economy consists of many pieces and different industrial views on the processes. We collected for you already developed ideas on circularity from Berlin.

What are the specifics of circular economy?

Circular economy from different perspective

Circular materials

The circular economy keeps a very special view on materials, their selection, and processing at the last stage of life. Materials are part of biological cycles, where food and biologically-based materials (such as cotton or wood) are designed to feed back into the system, or they are part of technical cycles, where recover and restore products, components, and materials through strategies like reuse, repair, remanufacture or recycling takes place.
One brilliant example developed in Berlin is material of Kaffeeform company. Julian Lechner, its designer, re-uses leftovers of coffee grounds together with renewable raw materials to develop the new material Kaffeeform and unique products out of it. It keeps all necessary properties such as durable, safe, eco-friendly and carbon neutral disposal and biodegradable.

Circular built environment and construction

A built environment that is designed in a modular and flexible manner, sourcing healthy materials that improve the life quality of the residents and minimize virgin material use. It will be built using efficient construction techniques and will be highly utilized thanks to shared, flexible and modular spaces and housing. Components of buildings are maintained and renewed when needed, while buildings will be used where possible to generate, rather than consume, power and food by facilitating closed loops of water, nutrients, materials, and energy, to mimic natural cycles. Berlin Architect agency Partner und Partner Architekten together with Natural Building Lab and others work to promote these practices and ideas in Berlin.

Circular built environment and construction

A built environment that is designed in a modular and flexible manner, sourcing healthy materials that improve the life quality of the residents and minimize virgin material use. It will be built using efficient construction techniques and will be highly utilized thanks to shared, flexible and modular spaces and housing. Components of buildings are maintained and renewed when needed, while buildings will be used where possible to generate, rather than consume, power and food by facilitating closed loops of water, nutrients, materials, and energy, to mimic natural cycles. Berlin Architect agency Partner und Partner Architekten together with Natural Building Lab and others work to promote these practices and ideas in Berlin.

Circular fashion

Fashion industry keeps one of the highest negative impact on the social and environmental side due to increase in demand for textile fibers and consumption. With this outlook in view, it is even worse than in 8 out of 10 cases these pieces are simply discarded in the waste without being reused or recycled. Dr. Anna Brismar defined “Circular fashion” as clothes, shoes or accessories designed, sourced, produced and provided with the intention to be used and circulate responsibly and effectively in society for as long as possible in their most valuable form, and hereafter return safely to the biosphere when no longer of human use. Berlin startup  circular.fashion works on this approach to help young designers develop fashion products with high longevity, resource efficiency, non-toxicity, biodegradability, recyclability and good ethics in mind. In Berlin scene circular textile and fashion design is booming and talented people strive for developing their sustainable brands.

Food and circular economy

The topic of food in the circular economy requires very special understanding, as it directly connects biological cycle. In this area, circular economy tackles wasteful food overproduction and loss, requires improving farming practices, for instance, by using organic fertilizer and making storage and packaging more efficient. Another perspective is to promote local production and avoid soil and nutrition exploitation. Supermarkets play a key role in circular economy actions relating to food. These businesses have been accused of enabling food waste by overstocking shelves (often linked to consumer expectations) and wasting surplus food given procedures around best before labeling and re-stocking. Berlin initiatives take as well a lot of actions both as in food waste prevention measures promoting a sustainable lifestyle and focuses on research of nutrition cycles.

Food and circular economy

The topic of food in the circular economy requires very special understanding, as it directly connects biological cycle. In this area, circular economy tackles wasteful food overproduction and loss, requires improving farming practices, for instance, by using organic fertilizer and making storage and packaging more efficient. Another perspective is to promote local production and avoid soil and nutrition exploitation. Supermarkets play a key role in circular economy actions relating to food. These businesses have been accused of enabling food waste by overstocking shelves (often linked to consumer expectations) and wasting surplus food given procedures around best before labeling and re-stocking. Berlin initiatives take as well a lot of actions both as in food waste prevention measures promoting a sustainable lifestyle and focuses on research of nutrition cycles.

Circular design

Circular design or design for circularity often refers to the definition of eco-design. As it is defined in the research project Ecodesigncircle that teaches to promote circular design thinking into practice, it is a systematic and comprehensive creative approach to products and services, employing improved product and service-design to minimise their environmental impact across the entire lifecycle – from the extraction of raw materials to production, distribution, and use – all the way to recycling, “reparability”, and disposal.  The use of energy-efficient and eco-friendly resources is certainly an important aspect, but the concept of eco-design goes beyond this. It is a holistic approach, keeping in view environmental, social and economic benefits as well as aesthetically appealing and durable design.