Unlike a linear economy (make it, use it, bin it), a circular economy encourages us to produce with as little resource use as possible, to prolong the use of those resources, and to recover them at the end of their lifespan.
A circular economy carries both environmental and economic benefits, through cutting our use of materials and energy, thereby reducing costs. There are many ways individual consumers and businesses can practice circular economy principles, although an economy-wide shift is necessary to reap full benefits.
This raises questions such as which economic sectors are best placed to pioneer a circular economy and how can we implement circular economy principles at a large scale.
Tyndall Manchester is researching new business models for a circular economy, to tackle the challenges of putting its principles into practice.
Our work has shown that companies that service electronic equipment can develop business models valuable in a circular economy, for example through virtualising their services, as they are strategically placed between producers and consumers. We have also created an innovative framework for implementing a circular economy in businesses, by combining the methods of eco-design and scenarios.