Grounded in the study of living systems

The concept of the circular economy is rooted in the observation and study of living systems and the understanding that everything (both materials and energy) transforms. It involves a careful management of material flows.

Materials fall into two types, as described by McDonough and Braungart:

  • Biological “nutrients”, designed to re-enter the biosphere safely after consumption
  • Technical “nutrients” such as metals and plastics, which can be designed for re-use so they continue to circulate without entering the biosphere