What happens when demand outstrips supply for natural resources needed to make everything from mobile phones and microwaves to toasters and tankers?

Enter the circular economy.

The circular economy relies on a simple premise perfected by nature over millennia — essentially, there is no waste. Everything is reused to make something new.

Put another way, instead of the traditional linear economic model — make, buy, use, discard, repeat — the circular economy recycles, refreshes and reuses components over and over.

This video from the Ellen Macarthur Foundation invites us to imagine, “What if the goods of today became the resources of tomorrow?”

The foundation, in partnership with the World Economic Forum and with support from McKinsey & Company, is promoting the concept to the business community through an effort labeled Project Mainstream.

With a global middle class closing in on 5 billion consumers in the next 15 years, the circular economy offers hope for preserving both prosperity and the environment. View Ensia homepage