The end that does not exist is the beginning of change!
By Maria Coutinho | 14ºC
The concept of Circular Economy, which in practice intends to replace the traditional model of Linear Economy, can be perceived as an economic model of production and consumption, which is governed by the practices of - reduction, reuse, recovery and recycling . These practices materialize in terms of products, materials and resources, generating value through a disruptive effort that contradicts the concept of end-of-
In order to abolish the productive and commercial sequence - production, use and waste – the circular model includes two complementary cycles: the biological and the technical. The cycle concerning biological materials presupposes decomposition through living organisms. And, on the other hand, the cycle that refers to technical materials includes all those that do not decompose through living organisms. Thus, with the clear objective of keeping the materials used in each product, as long as possible within the economy, each one of these ends up being considered a valuable resource, to the detriment of garbage.
This economic model has the ability to revolutionize the traditional economy, by making it more competitive while raising the value of sustainability, progressively ceasing to be an incessant demand for raw materials – thus delaying their scarcity and finitude .
Both from the business point of view and the population as a whole, in general terms, the benefits of this model are visible in terms of productive efficiency, safety associated with the non-scarcity of raw materials and the reduction of the number of landfills - only possible from an efficient management of waste, the durability of products, the promotion of social integration and the reduction of harmful effects on the climate and biodiversity.
In terms of the strengths of this particular type of economy, one can emphasize its power to systematically reduce the cost of materials, the growth of the economy itself - which is admitted to be less exposed to price fluctuations - and a reduced dependence on own resources. As for its weaknesses, there is an urgent need to know in detail the entire life cycle of the product – often only exposed in part. However, with regard to threats, it is possible to highlight the fact that, since it is possible to manage the entire life cycle of the product, it is possible to incur collusion, which later tends to give rise to an economic structure in cartel.
However, when developing a system designed specifically for this circular model, there is the potential for easier and less expensive access to materials.
“Currently, the production of materials for
everyday use is responsible for 45% of
Europarl | 2021-02-12
In the European context, it is urgent to highlight initiatives that have been contributing to the implementation of the Circular Economy in the European Union. In 2020, the European Commission presented, The Action Plan for the Circular Economy, which aims at a more sustainable production, capable of reducing the waste associated with it. This plan, although it has the clear objective of extending to as many markets as possible, focuses and mobilizes efforts in order to first fill this waste in the sectors - Information Technology, Textiles, Construction and all industries that use plastic in production of its products or provision of services.
Later, in the current year 2021, demands are being made to achieve a neutral economy in terms of carbon emissions and all types of toxic substances - with the specific objective of implementing a completely sustainable economy by 2050 and circular
"In the European Union, the circular economy has the capacity to generate savings in the order of 600 billion euros, or 8% of the annual turnover, of companies and to reduce the total annual emission of gases by 2.4%. greenhouse effect."
Endesa | 2020-06-25
Finally, on the national scene, the Action Plan for the Circular Economy in Portugal stands out – according to the premise of Leading the Transition, which aims to move from the current predominant linear model to a circular model, in order to contribute to create more jobs - possible through greater investment and underlying economic growth. This plan establishes three levels of action: macro actions, with a transversal scope; meso actions, at sectoral level; micro actions, which operate at the regional level. In this sense, included in the goals for Portugal 2020, it is possible to highlight the IAPMEI Incentive Systems, which aim to increase business competitiveness, modernization of production processes and innovation in terms of their own business models. Among these incentives
the following stand out: the Circular Economy Valley, which provides
consulting services; the Qualification of SMEs, at individual and group level; Innovation and Development, which aims to support projects in industrial or experimental research activities; and Productive Innovation, stimulated within companies, whether they are classified as SMEs or Non-SMEs.