The Circular Economy and Product Lifecycle

I placed this comment on the Interface Blog at

There seems to be a fundamental error in the interpretation of the Circular Economy as propounded by Michael Braungart.

The assumption is that we try to make products last longer. Braungart says that if we maintain the integrity of the technical and nutrient cycles and use Cradle to Cradle design, then the shorter the life cycle, the faster learning and improvement will take place.

Braungart also reprises the core tenet of Quality; that it is about doing the ‘Right Thing Right, every time’

This highlights the reality that must drive the Circular Economy, that it must only create the ‘Essential Value’ needed by society. It cannot be used as an excuse for vicariously tying up constrained resources for non-essential use.

The greatest task facing us is for societies to define and create this essential value whilst maintaining freedom and democracy.



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