The “Circular economy” promotes a closed-loop system, contrasting with the linear approach of discarding products. Recently, the “elliptical economy” suggests variable phase durations for efficiency. While extending the use phase is generally advised, exceptions exist, such as in technology.
The research explores the impact of varying phase durations on resource use, cautioning against assuming improved efficiency always leads to better outcomes. It discusses the benefits and drawbacks of altering the collection and reprocessing phases. Examples include longer resource regeneration phases for wood. The time scale of the overall loop is crucial, acknowledging limitations in renewing resources like fossil fuels and biomass. The essay stresses the complexity of balancing metrics in a closed-loop economy and the need for a nuanced approach.
From circular to elliptical: A useful reformulation of the closed loop economy?
In this commentary, we discuss the concept of an elliptical economy as opposed to a circular economy. The change of shape emphasizes that the duration of the different phases of the lifecycle is often different and so the implications for the lifecycle may be important. Keywords: Bioprocessing, Circular Economy, Recycling, Sustainability