New guide sets out circular economy goals and principles

26th September 2023

The circular economy is a systemic approach that aims to eliminate waste and keep products and materials in use for longer.

It goes far beyond recycling and involves prioritising design choices for reuse, repair, refurbishment, remanufacture and repurposing. Keeping materials and products in their higher value form helps reduce our demand on resources, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and keep human activity within the safe limits of planetary boundaries.

However, embedding the circular economy can seem technical and complicated, and there are common misunderstandings. Communicating the circular economy clearly is essential to shift mindsets and enable professionals to set out problems and solutions effectively.

The Circular Economy Network Steering Group held a workshop at the end of May with the aim of finding the most effective way to communicate the subject. This interactive session tested and gained feedback on content that should be used in a new Circular Economy 101 (CE101) guide.

Building on common principles, key levers and interventions needed to transition to a circular economy, the steering group has developed ‘six goals for decision-makers’, a key feature of this guide. These goals incorporate additional principles that are aimed at the need for clean and sustainable materials, shared value and reducing the flow of materials in the system.

The steering group identified the need to provide a useful tool to put principles and circular strategies into practice. CE101 includes example questions you can ask yourself to help you embed the circular economy, with a focus on product design.

The CE101 guide uses clear, accessible and easy-to-understand language, diagrams and tools to demystify the circular economy and explain it to non-experts.

The guide includes the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • What is the circular economy?

– Implementing a circular economy

– Six goals for decision-makers

– Priorities for design

– Questions to help you embed circular economy principles

  • Key terms
  • Additional resources.

The toolkit is available to members as an interactive document or as a page-by-page PDF at


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