“Circular Economy” is one of those fashionable words that has settled in our vocabulary and is serving to set the tone for environmental policies in European countries. But what is it and why is this new concept so relevant?

In a simple way and to understand each other, a circular economy is an economy without waste in which nothing is wasted. The This concept is very new because it means completely changing the current approach in which it is taken for granted that any production or consumption activity inevitably generates waste with the corresponding economic, social and, of course, environmental costs that this generates .

It may seem like a utopia, but it is not. Gradually we are realizing that it is possible to satisfy our needs and improve our quality of life by consuming in a more responsible way, which does not imply consuming more, but better. And what is most important, many companies are betting on new ways of designing, producing and selling goods that, in addition to minimizing the use of materials, last longer, can be repaired and are easy for users to share and also to recycle. actively.

However, no one is aware that moving from the current linear model to this new circular economy paradigm is a huge and complex leap that will imply important structural transformations because the reality is that we produce a huge amount of waste (Each European generates an average of 480 kg of urban waste per year of which only 32% is recycled) that are not being significantly reduced (urban waste per capita has decreased at a rate of 1.5% per year since 2008) or they are even increasing as is the case of hazardous waste. (increased by 1.4% per year in per capita terms since 2008)

To advance along this path, a radical transformation of the attitudes of consumers and producers is needed, which will only occur if they are accompanied by determined public action with important regulatory changes. These changes have to, on the one hand, deepen the circularity paradigm to ensure the potential use of what we now call waste, facilitating its use as a new source of resources. On the other hand, it will be essential to internalize environmental costs in the price system to make it easier for individual decisions to be made in a socially efficient way. And finally, it will have to encourage and reward reuse and recycling and resolutely prohibit the dumping of potentially recyclable products.

In short, the Circular Economy is a new way of approaching in a systemic way, breaking with the traditional ways that view the economy and the environment as antagonistic elements in which the advance of the first is inextricably linked to the detriment of the second. And, in this sense,it is a radically innovative concept capable of uniting the interests of the parties and presenting the environment as a motor to take advantage of economies (circular economies) that we are literally throwing away.