Linear vs Circular Economy: The Importance of Creating a Sustainable World

Linear vs Circular Economy: The Importance of Creating a Sustainable World

An enormous amount of 2.01 billion metric tons of municipal solid waste per year, and the quantity is increasing day by day.

But the even bigger concern surrounding this statement is that only one-third of this Waste is managed in proper ways.

Harmful chemicals and gasses are polluting the air and water and are damaging human health consistently.

This also damages resources that could otherwise be reused, get involved in upcycling, or be composted.

Solid Waste has negative effects on climate and human health when it isn’t managed properly.

what is circular economy?

However, there is a lot more that we can do to make things better. In order to guarantee that we evolve sustainably, we must continue the shift from linear to circular economy.

This article discusses linear vs circular economy, their key differences, and all the information that must be addressed.

What Exactly is the Linear Economy? 

linear economy involves gathering raw materials, which are transformed into products.

The customers continuously use these products until they are dumped as Waste. However, these products are discarded with no care for their environmental impact.

Hence, a linear economy prioritizes profit over working on sustainability, with products discarded after usage.

Consequences of a Linear Economy

The Linear Economy Promotes Massive Waste and Pollution

A large majority of municipal Waste across the globe is disposed of in landfills and waste treatment plants.

This generally includes all kinds of Waste, from hazardous Waste to plastic, metal, paper, rubber, and sometimes even wood and cement.

However, a great number of these landfills is just open dumping ground with no facilities at all.

There is a small percentage of sanitary landfills that can collect greenhouse gases such as CO2 and methane while safeguarding groundwater.

Landfills offer minimal material recovery and require huge efforts to protect groundwater and neighboring residents.

Burning Waste is Costly and Inefficient

Because there are fewer landfills, numerous countries have decided to burn solid Waste. This results in the increase of pollution all over the area.

Despite the fact that energy is regenerated and synthetic substances are filtered, this process is still inefficient.

Transporting Waste introduces Harmful Litter.

Littering happens when trash is moved at significant distances to be discarded or reused a long way from its starting point.

Litter is expensive to clean and dangerous for human environments and well-being. Plastic jugs, food coverings, shopping bags, and plastic straws are effectively getting into waterways.

This is exceptionally risky for the soundness of marine life.

Circular Economy: Is it a Solution?

If we talk about linear vs circular economy, people often regard it as a solution to problems.

A circular economy is an economic system that contrasts with a linear economy. Three characteristics often recognize it:

  • Waste and pollution are eliminated
  • The products and materials are circulated
  • Nature’s regeneration

Working on sustainability is the primary focus of circular economies, and design, manufacturing, and consumption all revolve around it. 

Sustainable products are made by the use of renewable energy and non-polluting raw materials to reduce energy usage.

They must not have a small life and must be designed to be repaired or recycled.

Why is a Circular Economy Necessary?

The responsibility for changing to a circular economy falls on every one of us since we all need things like clean water and breathing air.

There will only be economic activity if we can guarantee such things for the present and future.

The top sustainable clothing brands are assessing their social and environmental effects in pursuit of shifting towards a circular model.

If we completely analyze and appreciate where we are, it will eventually become easier to identify areas for improvement. Hence, we must properly investigate our social and environmental impact.

The Circular Economy in Practical

In a circular economy, manufacturers develop items that may be reused. For example, electrical components are designed to be quickly fixed.

Reusing of raw materials is done as much as it can be. For example, plastic may be recycled into pellets and used to make new plastic objects.

However, cars are examples of items that are only sometimes utilized. In a circular economy, these products and services are used more widely;

for example, they are shared. Overall, fewer items and, hence, fewer raw materials are needed.

Everything in circular economies is done keeping the environment in mind, and practical steps are taken to reduce carbon footprint.

Linear vs Circular Economy: Key Differences 

Linear economy involves the extraction of raw materials, which are converted into a product.

However, that product is discarded after use. In a circular economy, the product is preserved.

Rather, the raw material cycles are completed, which are much more than just recycling.

It involves ensuring that the value of the product is sustained, sustainable production and consumption are assured, and which business models are used.

The difference in terms of the Value of the Product

The circular and linear systems differ in how the value of a product is sustained.

The linear system is simple in which raw materials are collected and then processed into items that are consumed before being discarded.

In an economic system value is created by producing and selling products more times. Circular economies normally revolve around three things which are reduce, reuse, and recycle.

The use of natural resources is minimized automatically when the reuse of products and services is maximized.

Another thing that circular economy does is change a product into a service. For example, Spotify has changed the trend of using CD players and CDs.

These days, kids are using these CDs and converting them into fine arts.

Environmental Effectiveness and Efficiency

A circular economy views sustainability differently than a linear economy. The focus on eco-efficiency while working on sustainability within a linear economy is actually reducing the ecological impact.

However, it will be providing the same output. This will increase the amount of time it takes for the system to get overloaded.

Environmental Effectiveness and Efficiency

Sustainability is sought in circular economies through increasing the system’s eco-effectiveness.

This suggests that not only is the environmental impact decreased but also that the ecological, economic, and social impact is beneficial.

It strengthens the ecological, economic, and social systems by concentrating on eco-effectivity to have a positive impact.


Now that you know everything about linear vs circular economy, you will understand that a truly functional circular economy requires more than just government and industry.

As consumers, we must also play our role in working on sustainability. Buying environmentally friendly items must become the new standard.

Customers may also contribute to the creation of a circular economy by reusing products, repairing them, or taking them to a recycling center.

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