Chapter 1: Introduction and overview
Full access

During the last decade, the circular economy has increasingly caught the attention of policy-makers, academia and industry. The logic of the circular economy is straightforward, i.e. the linear material flows of global production and consumption systems cannot continue on their current trajectory. On one hand, the finite nature of non-renewable resources, such as land, fossil fuels and other materials (e.g. minerals), makes it clear that current extraction rates cannot be sustained indefinitely. On the other hand, the sheer levels of waste generation and emissions have highlighted the limited capacity of the environment to cope with the wastes of current unsustainable production and consumption systems, which aim at satisfying the satieties of increasingly wealthier and demanding societies. Changing this trajectory raises a number of difficult challenges that must be solved. This chapter provides an overview to, and outlines the contents of, the Handbook of the Circular Economy.