Topic 1 Linear vs. circular economy

As a first step, the difference between linear and circular economy must be understood

  • The actual economic system is a linear one, the raw materials are extracted from mines and they are going through a transformation process, resulting a product which is used for a longer or shorter time and all these products will became waste at the end.
  • This economic system is not sustainable because during each phase of the process there are produced large quantities of waste which will get to the waters and other natural systems and change definitely the ecological systems.

Basic principles of linear & circular economy


Giving inspiration to support CE

Eurostat statistics

  • In 2020, theEU’s circular material use rate (referred to as the circularity rate) reached 12.8%.  This means that almost 13% of material resources used in the EU came from recycled waste materials.
  • Compared with 2019, the circularity rate increased by 0.8 percentage points. The rate has maintained a stable growth trend since 2004 (8.3%), the first year for which data are available. 
  • In 2020, the circularity rate was highest in the Netherlands (31%), followed by Belgium (23%) and France (22%). The lowest rate was recorded in Romania (1%), followed by Ireland and Portugal (both 2%). Differences in the circularity rate among the Member States are based not only on the amount of recycling of each country but also on structural factors in national economies.