Circular economy

Backgrounder

Achieving sustainable growth requires smart new approaches and technologies. The circular economy moves away from linear “take-make-waste” behaviours—extracting resources, making products, using them, and then throwing them away—and finds ways to keep the value of resources in the economy while helping to address key environmental challenges like climate change.

It is a new way of doing business that extracts as much value as possible from our resources. Circular business models are rethinking their systems and processes from as early as the design stage to find opportunities to recycle, repair, reuse, repurpose, or refurbish products and materials, to reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions. In Canada, many of our innovators and industries are already seeing the benefits of using circular models to save money or open up new market opportunities—from turning pulp-and-paper-mill waste into renewable bioproducts to launching product buy-back programs that enhance customer interaction and recover usable materials such as metals and alloys. These innovative solutions are leading the way toward a more circular economy that benefits the environment while creating wealth and opportunities in industries across Canada.

Global uptake of the circular economy has increased over the past five years. Several countries in Europe and Asia have adopted circular-economy strategies, and momentum is growing in Canada. More and more companies are testing out new circular business models; universities are conducting research into different pathways to a more circular economy; and policy initiatives are underway at all levels of government, including the Canada-Wide Action Plan on Zero Plastic Waste (PDF).

Clean technology is crucial to make this shift toward a circular economy. New and innovative ideas can help to increase resource productivity, create jobs, reduce environmental impacts, and contribute to a clean and competitive Canadian economy.

Many Canadians are already participating in the circular economy. The Government of Canada is working to support the businesses and communities that are creating new economic opportunities that keep the value of our resources in the economy and out of the landfill.


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