Circular Economy: Defining and Explaining Circularity

Key resources to understand circular systems and our complete circularity services

Key Principles of Circularity

Anthesis supports clients in delivering services that align with these three circular principles from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation:

  1. Design out waste and pollution
  2. Keep products and materials in use
  3. Regenerate natural systems

What is a Circular Economy?

A circular economy, an alternative to a linear economy, keeps resources in use for as long as possible, extracts the maximum value from them whilst in use, and recovers and regenerates products and materials at the end of each service life thereby reducing our dependency on natural resources and benefiting our social and environmental communities.

 

The difference between a linear and circular economy

It’s an evolution of the traditional linear economy of take–make–dispose, which fails to fully utilise the potential of many products and services. It could help tackle the climate emergency, decrease resource scarcity and dependence on single use plastics, enhance productivity and increase business sustainability.

Taking circular economy thinking and implementing it successfully can be challenging. We can support you to integrate circular economy principles into your project, identify opportunities and subsequently improve your resource efficiency and reputation.

Download our Circular Economy PDF Guide

Circular Economy infographic

Circular Economy Benefits and Opportunities

  • Optimising asset value: Global E-waste Monitor estimated global e-waste to contain roughly $55 billion worth of valuable recoverable materials, such as gold, silver, copper, platinum, palladium. Also the size of opportunity to use post-consumer plastic as feedstock is large. The North American polymers market is $47 billion annually in the US and Canada alone.
  • Strengthening supply chain relationships to build resilience: With closer material loops, a successful circular economy strategy relies on new, more integrated engagement with suppliers and customers, strengthening business resilience and security of supply.
  • Decoupling economic opportunity: to reach the Paris Commitment climate goals, we must decouple economic opportunity from carbon emissions. Doing so requires new, innovative circular business solutions. This presents new business opportunities. For example, the re-commerce market is projected to double in size over the next 3 years.
  • Regenerating the natural environment: by moving to a regenerative, circular economic model, we can benefit from the natural resources our world provides whilst preserving them for future generations.

Anthesis’ Circular Thinking

The Anthesis Circular Economy Centre of Excellence draws together a depth and breadth of circular economy expertise across the globe. We combine systems thinking and strategy with the technical solutions and implementation support to deliver robust and realistic end-to-end solutions. Our global analytics and tech-enabled approach draws together expertise in tools for circular design, materials and waste tracking; sustainable materials and secondary commodities; supply chain data collection; unused resources elimination and resource recovery; extended producer responsibility and circular business models.

Our team includes global experts across sectors including tech, medical devices, apparel, food, built environment, packaging, automotive, retail, CPG + FMCG and public sector among others. In working with many F500 companies across sectors, our position in the circular economy ecosystem can enable relationships across companies and even partnerships.

Recycled Box Icons

1. Circularity in Sustainable Products and Packaging

 

 

Circularity is central to the development of modern products & packaging, where the need to reuse and design for End of Life (EOL) has become of paramount importance across the world.
Learn more about our plastic recycling services

Analytics

We can support you in conducting surveys and interviews, alongside benchmarking to inform your objectives. We also conduct baseline assessments for products and packaging across the value chain, including LCAs.

Solution

Anthesis supports clients in developing and setting goals and targets to align with circularity principles for products and packaging, as well as facilitating roadmapping and action planning to ensure success in your circularity approach.

Implementation

Our sustainable packaging and product experts are on hand to help you design for sustainability to embed circularity principles into your products. We provide our expertise in materials selection to ensure that your designs are both innovative and sustainable, whilst ensuring that your supply chain and sourcing strategies are robust and responsible.

wood planks

2. Eliminating Unused Resources and Designing out Pollution

Tackling modern issues of reducing resource use and waste requires establishing new practices and principles that are inherent within circular economy thinking.

Analytics

Anthesis can support clients in conducting circularity and waste assessments across operations throughout the value chain, as well as through market assessments and due diligence services for secondary commodities, waste and recycling infrastructure. We can assess product take-back opportunities and EPR responsibilities, as well as provide procurement support.

Solution

Anthesis’ broad expertise in waste and resource use makes us well-equipped to help you establish strategies that align with your goals and targets, including recycling and waste infrastructure, technology selection and supplier screenings.

Implementation

Anthesis can support you in optimising product take-back for efficiency, economy and stewardship, whilst also facilitating waste, diversion and reuse solutions. We support recycling and waste infrastructure providers with positioning circular services, market identification, support for processing trials of novel infrastructure and support to embed circular concepts of reuse, refurbish, refuse into product ecosystems.

people planning a circularity approach

3. Circular Economy Strategy + Business Models

 

Our world-class expertise in circular economy mean we are well-placed to help you design and deliver circularity through actionable, pragmatic and value driven strategies and business models.

Analytics

We can support you in analysing maturity and readiness for circularity across you operations, products and services, culture and organisation, and partners and customers. We can analyse business model opportunities: e.g. product as a service (PaaS), sharing platforms, and/or resale models, as well as evaluate opportunities, market analysis, benchmarking, regulatory landscape, stakeholder engagement, material flow analysis, and financial modeling.

Solution

Anthesis can support the development of Circular Strategies by creating a business blueprint: identify needs and gaps for approach, skills, organisational capabilities, supply chain and operations strategies. We can also help align circularity and net zero agendas. We are on hand to help you set KPIs and goals and define your change management approach. We work with you to integrate capacity building for circularity with workshops to introduce circularity concepts and reimagine business models with key internal stakeholders across R&D, Operations, Supply Chain, Marketing and Branding.

Implementation

Anthesis is here to support you to implement circular strategy with supply chain design, change management, capacity development, training, financial and circularity impact measurement.

We can support you to develop your Circular Economy Strategy contact us

Click below to explore our Circularity resources:

Podcasts & Webinars
Insights & News Stories
Case Studies
Key Contacts

Podcasts

Circular Economy Principles

In Episode 7 of the Activating Sustainability Executive Director Lisa Grice is joined by special guests from the life sciences division of multinational Merck KGaA and Anthesis colleague Richard Peagam to discuss all things circular economy. The podcast explores how a company can reduce waste while maximising value, extend the lifespan of products, become more resource efficient, and understand the risks and opportunities of different business models.

 

Recycling & Plastic Waste

In Episode 16 of Activating Sustainability, host Chris Peterson is joined by Anthesis’ Claudia Amos, Technical Director of Waste Infrastructure & Commercial Due Diligence in the UK and special guest Paula Luu, Director at the Center for the Circular Economy – Closed Loop Partners’ innovation center. Paula and Claudia break down the basics of advanced recycling of plastic waste, and the diverse drivers, solutions and challenges in the circular economy for plastics. 

 

Emissions Avoidance

In this episode of our Activating Net Zero Podcast Series Alexandre Lemille, Joint Managing Director of Anthesis France explores the increasing importance of circularity in avoiding and reducing emissions by being smarter in the design process.

Insights & News Stories

Case Studies