Refine the circular economy by rethinking it - a holistic approach for the advanced circular economy

The Circular Economy is a recent economic approach aiming to transform the linear economy into a sustainable system including the economic, ecological, and social dimensions. The transformation faces various barriers and obstacles, each in a different field inside the value system. Three different (sub-system) approaches were developed independently to address those hurdles and provide solutions to mitigate them. The paper will briefly describe those approaches, including their strengths and weaknesses. Out of each of the three individual sub-systems, these sub-systems are combined in a holistic approach and presented as the Advanced Circular Economy. The system is developed on a meta-level. Nevertheless, a very crucial example, namely traction batteries for electric vehicles, will be given to show the relevance of the system within the current economic surroundings and explain the overall system of the Advanced Circular Economy.

The Circular Economy (CE) is the antithesis of the “Take-Make-Waste” principle. The principlesand strategies behind the Circular Economy have been published and discussed in countlesspublications (Kirchherr et al. 2017). However, the basic idea is to rethink value chains in the longterm and that the products are only recycled after the steps (depending on the definition): Reduce,Reuse, Repair, Refurbishment, Remanufacturing, Repurpose to recycle the raw materials. Disposalshould be the last step, but ideally should be avoided completely. Nevertheless, there isstill a difference between the Circular Economy as described in the literature and reality. Thisdifference can be attributed to an information gap due to a lack of information exchange betweenall stakeholders in the value chain (Lawrenz et al. 2021).This paper presents a conceptual expansion of the Circular Economy towards an Advanced CircularEconomy. The Advanced Circular Economy complements and expands the familiar CE conceptwith digitalization methods and information technologies, including its forward and reversesupply chain. Nevertheless, these approaches and technologies alone cannot solve all recent CEproblems mentioned above. The reason is the lack of an interface between the individual systems.Such an interface will enable a connection between the systems, pass on their strengths to others, and mitigate some of their weaknesses.

Copyright: © Lehrstuhl für Abfallverwertungstechnik und Abfallwirtschaft der Montanuniversität Leoben
Quelle: Recy & Depotech 2022 (November 2022)
Seiten: 6
Preis inkl. MwSt.: € 3,00
Autor: Mathias Nippraschk
P. Wallat
S. Lawrenz
Prof. Dr. Daniel Goldmann
C. Minke

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