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Yale team joins circular debate


New research published by a team from Yale University will make a significant contribution to discussions on how to implement circular economy systems.

The study in Yale’s Journal of Industrial Ecology examines a range of topics, including the “feasibility of running the economy on recycled materials” and “why it is critical to address social and institutional forces when promoting circularity”. For a limited time articles – from the 25 article issue – can be downloaded for free.

“As the circular economy gains worldwide attention and as implementation spreads, challenges and tradeoffs are emerging. Industrial ecology is well-placed to provide insight and guidance on the environmental and resource implications of this emerging framework,” said Reid Lifset, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Industrial Ecology and co-author of the editorial.

The paper calls for action to tackle three key elements of the circular economy.

How to take small scale and individual initiatives to the next level; what the environmental benefits are going to be in relation to “material flows, resource use, and product design”; and the “opportunities for innovative business models, institutional change, and informed policy action.”

“The effort to close loops and to increase resource efficiency is a key element in the pursuit of sustainability,” added Indy Burke, dean of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. “This special issue of the Journal of Industrial Ecology brings the technical prowess of industrial ecology to the understanding of the environmental and resource dimensions of our production and consumption systems.”


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