From Linear to Circular Economy: a new paradigm shift in sustainability
“Each new generation is reared by its predecessor; the latter must therefore improve in order to improve its successor. The movement is circular”- Emile Durkheim.

The economy plays a key role in the fight against climate change. Consequently, we must continue the transition from a linear to a circular economy to ensure that humanity progresses in a sustainable manner. Our planet’s resources are finite, thus it has become crucial that individuals, organizations and governments collaborate to use them in a responsible manner. The circular economy is a new paradigm shift that replaces the linear economy.

Linear economy is a traditional model in which raw materials are gathered and turned into goods that people use until they discard them as garbage without thinking about the impact on the environment. With things designed to be discarded after use, emphasises is given to profit before sustainability.

The way people produce and consume goods and services has evolved with the advent of the Circular economy.The circular model reshapes the economy around the notions of eliminating waste and pollution while extending the useful life of goods and resources.Restoration of the world’s wilderness, development of regenerative agricultural systems, the use of renewable resources, and the transition to renewable energy sources are all equally important.

Circular economy entails relinquishment from the present, highly wasteful “take, make, throw away” economic model, in which resources are gathered, transformed into products, utilized, and then discarded. To be kept in use for as long as possible, products must be redesigned to be more robust, reusable, repairable, and recyclable. Beyond improvements in product design, it also involves altering how we use and consume goods and services, as well as reviewing consumerism as a social construct.

The main distinction is that while the circular economy aims for sustainability, the linear economy prioritizes profitability regardless of the product life cycle.

Examples of a circular economy
The circular economy concept can be used in the majority of human economic endeavours, including the production and consumption of food, plastics, clothing, and so forth.

Modern farming practices are not sustainable. Forests are cut down for cattle rearing, which in turn emits huge quantities of carbon dioxide and methane thus causing loss of carbon sinks. Furthermore, the degradation of the soil and the fact that about one-third of all produced food never makes it to the table make clearing land for monoculture crops equally damaging.This is a crucial topic that needs immediate attention. Due to widespread monoculture crop planting and linear economy practises in agriculture and fisheries, habitat degradation is taking place at a rate that has never been seen before in human history. Population collapse poses a serious risk, and would have devastating ‘domino’ effects across the food chain.Regenerative farming practices, dietary shifts towards alternate protein sources, and changes in household behaviours are all examples of circular solutions that aim to reduce food waste.

Plastic causes serious concerns. The majority of its production is reliant on the utilization of fossil fuels. Decomposition might take decades or even centuries. Animals on land and in the sea are poisoned and choked by it as micro plastics. Presently, plastic cannot be stopped before it enters the environment. By 2050, it is predicted that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.Reduced usage of superfluous plastic should take precedence over substitutes with severe environmental effects.One solution is to switch from single-use plastics to alternatives that are meant to be reused, such as reusable coffee cup schemes or supermarket refill isles. Incentives like deposit return programmes must be used to encourage the collection of plastics before they contaminate the environment and become waste.Finally, individual polymer plastics must be used in the redesign of plastic items to take recycling into consideration.

Clothes and textiles:-
One of the biggest global pollutants is the textile industry.It uses 79 trillion litres of water year and contributes 8 to 10% of the world’s carbon emissions, more than all air and sea travel combined. This linear model results in the burning or landfilling of 87% of the input textile fibre, which costs the world economy $100 billion annually. By creating durable clothing, recycling used items, using bio-based materials, and establishing business models for repair and rental, circular economy solutions might significantly enhance the environmental performance of textile supply chains.

It is important and essential that the world connects the advancement of the circular economy to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations (UN). The circular economy can help to lessen inequality, increase wellbeing, and improve environmental quality by putting an equal emphasis on environmental and social goals.Still living in the present, the world is neglecting to make plans for the future. In a world of conflicting interests, creating a circular world may appear complex or challenging. Whatever the difficulties, they will be much easier to overcome than the environmental catastrophe brought on by our current economic system.

“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”- Native American Proverb

Assistant Professor

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