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2021 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

Key Concepts and Terminology

Author : Mengmeng Cui

Published in: An Introduction to Circular Economy

Publisher: Springer Singapore

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Abstract

Many of us have heard the phrases “circular economy” and “linear economy”. The notion of “circular economy” has been around for at least a few decades, starting with the “open economy” versus “closed economy” articulated by Kenneth Boulding in 1966 in his essay “The Economics of the Coming Spaceship Earth” (To download the essay, please go to: http://​www.​ub.​edu/​prometheus21/​articulos/​obsprometheus/​BOULDING.​pdf.). Since then, the concepts of feedback systems, cradle-to-cradle, closed-loop and many more essentially circular economy equivalent concepts have flourished and further developed into different branches in resource management, environmental policy, sustainable development and other subjects we are familiar with today from many university curriculums. It is, however, only in recent years, that the circular economy concept as an all-encompassing concept of future economic development model, gained global and cross-sector traction.

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Footnotes
1
In 2009, former centre director Johan Rockström led a group of 28 internationally renowned scientists to identify the nine processes that regulate the stability and resilience of the earth system. The scientists proposed quantitative planetary boundaries within which humanity can continue to develop and thrive for generations to come. Crossing these boundaries increases the risk of generating large-scale abrupt or irreversible environmental changes. Since then, the planetary boundaries framework has generated enormous interest within science, policy and practice. https://​www.​stockholmresilie​nce.​org/​research/​planetary-boundaries.​html.
 
5
The study of material flow accounting (MFA) focuses on the natural resource requirements of national economies, specific economic activities (such as construction and housing, transport and mobility), or geographical units such as cities. MFA accounts for the input of primary materials—biomass, fossil fuels, metal ores and minerals—and semimanufactures and final goods into economic activities. MFA also accounts for the outputs of economic systems including final goods for export, waste and emissions. MFA often conceptualizes the economic system as a ‘black box’. There are, however, accounting strategies for material flows within economic systems available as well. https://​www.​sciencedirect.​com/​topics/​economics-econometrics-and-finance/​material-flow.
 
7
Symbiosis is originally used to describe any of several living arrangements between members of two different species, including mutualism, commensalism and parasitism. Both positive (beneficial) and negative (unfavourable to harmful) associations are therefore included, and the members are called symbionts. https://​www.​britannica.​com/​science/​symbiosis.
 
8
Industrial ecology is the study of material and energy flows through industrial systems. Industrial ecology conceptualises industry as a man-made ecosystem that operates in a similar way to natural ecosystems, where the waste or by product of one process is used as an input into another process. Industrial ecology interacts with natural ecosystems and attempts to move from a linear to cyclical or closed loop system. Like natural ecosystems, industrial ecology is in a continual state of flux. http://​www.​gdrc.​org/​sustdev/​concepts/​16-l-eco.​html.
 
9
Industrial symbiosis is the process by which wastes or by-products of an industry or industrial process become the raw materials for another. Application of this concept allows materials to be used in a more sustainable way and contributes to the creation of a circular economy. https://​ec.​europa.​eu/​environment/​europeangreencap​ital/​wp-content/​uploads/​2018/​05/​Industrial_​Symbiosis.​pdf.
 
11
Upcycling refers to a process that can be repeated in perpetuity of returning materials back to a pliable, usable form without degradation to their latent valuemoving resources back up the supply chain.. https://​intercongreen.​com/​2010/​02/​17/​recycling-vs-upcycling-what-is-the-difference/​.
 
12
In the technical cycle, materials that are not used up during use in the product can be reprocessed to allow them to be used in a new product.
 
13
Remanufacturing is a process of returning a used product to at least original performance specification from the customers’ perspective and giving the resultant product a warranty that is at least equal to that of a newly manufactured equivalent (Ijomah, 2002; Ijomah et al., 2004). https://​www.​sciencedirect.​com/​topics/​engineering/​remanufacturing.
 
15
OECD defines Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) as an environmental policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle. An EPR policy is characterized by 1. the shifting of responsibility (physically and/or economically; fully or partially) upstream towards the producer and away from municipalities; and 2. the provision of incentives to producers to take into account the environmental considerations when designing their products. http://​www.​oecd.​org/​environment/​extended-producer-responsibility.​html.
 
18
Modular design, or modularity in design, is an approach (design theory and practice) that subdivides a system into smaller parts called modules (such as modular process skids), which can be independently created, modified, replaced or exchanged between different systems.
 
19
Public procurement refers to the process by which public authorities, such as government departments or local authorities, purchase work, goods or services from companies. https://​ec.​europa.​eu/​growth/​single-market/​public-procurement_​en.
 
20
Circular procurement sets out an approach to green public procurement which pays special attention to "the purchase of works, goods or services that seek to contribute to the closed energy and material loops within supply chains, whilst minimising, and in the best case avoiding, negative environmental impacts and waste creation across the whole life-cycle".  https://​ec.​europa.​eu/​environment/​gpp/​circular_​procurement_​en.​htm.
 
Metadata
Title
Key Concepts and Terminology
Author
Mengmeng Cui
Copyright Year
2021
Publisher
Springer Singapore
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-8510-4_2

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