Linear economy is a system in which people buy a product, use it, and then throw it away

The term linear refers to the straight progression that a product can follow, with a beginning, a middle and an end. There is no thought along the line regarding recycling or reuse. This model is characterized by a high volume of new manufacturing.

The linear economy is a polluting system that can hurt nature and the climate. It causes loss of biodiversity.

Linear economic thinking has been around for centuries. It was the dominant economic model for most of the 20th century. It is based on the desire to make products and offer services for the lowest price. Raw materials are extracted from nature at the lowest cost, turned into products with the least amount of labour, and sold at the highest price.

This linear “take-make-use-dispose” economy is not working. We are extracting virgin raw materials at a pace so fast that they cannot be replenished. We are already having problems extracting some critical raw materials that are in constant demand. At the same time, the amount of waste keeps growing. Global waste generation is expected to increase by 70% by 2050.

What is a circular economy?

The ideal type of economy is a circular one that tries to minimise waste and use resources again and again. A circular economy is based on three principles: reduce, reuse, and recycle. In a circular economy, waste is minimized, natural resources are conserved and pollution is reduced. The first step is to eliminate the over-extraction of raw materials by using secondary raw materials salvaged from existing products.

What are secondary raw materials?

Secondary raw materials are products that have already been used in the manufacturing process. These are products designed so that at the end of their lives, they can be upgraded, repaired or go through a new manufacturing process. They also are more durable and resilient.

What is the sharing economy?

Closely related to the circular economy is the sharing model, based on the idea of owning less and working together when using or buying a product. In the sharing economy, people join in groups to rent or swap products and services, such as transport and cars. Many companies have been created recently to connect drivers with passengers. Other ways to share include housing, parking, workspaces, grocery delivery.