Finding a Common Language

The circular economy has seen a significant increase in interest over the past few years and is continuing to gain steady momentum.

With this surge in popularity, many mention the term "circular economy" or "circular principles" without really explaining what they mean. On the other hand, if the term is defined, the definition widely varies depending on the problems being addressed, the audience, or the lens through which the author views the world.

In an effort to define a common language for the circular economy, Circle Economy has mapped the various terms and definitions used by over 20 organisations - NGOs, government agencies, academia, consultancies, etc. - working on elements of the topic. After interpreting and grouping these various terms, seven key elements emerged that defined the majority of terms linked to the circular economy.