The modern pillars of Circular Economy

  • agata matarazzo University of Catania- Department Economics and Business
Keywords: circular economy - industrial ecology -industrial symbiosis and metabolism


Relationship between industry and environment is crucial for industrial business performance. Environmental impacts have incrementally increased pressure on industrial businesses.

Looking back to the beginning of the industrial revolution, mass production of goods was enabled by new manufacturing methods resulting in products with high availability and low costs. Consequently, due to new consumer societies and staggering growth in industrial activity, emissions to environment, solid waste generation and landfill have become increasingly severe. In addition, due to a growing world population and especially strong middle-class growth the demand for resources is expected to rise rapidly indicating a rising consumption of natural resources. This paper shows the modern concepts of the circular economy and industrial ecology, emphasiyng  the benefits of industrial symbiosis


IMOJAH W.- MCMAHON, C.- HAMMOND G. & NEWMAN G., Development of robust design-for-remanufacturing guidelines to further the aims of sustainable development, in “Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing”, n.23(6), 2007, pp. 712–719.

NESS D., Sustainable urban infrastructure in China: towards a factor 10 improvement in resource productivity through integrated infrastructure system, in “International Journal Sustainable. Developmen-. World Ecoligal, n. 15, 2008, pp.288-301.

TUKKER A.- CHARTER M.- VEZZOLI C.- STO E.- MUNCH ANDERSEN M. (Eds.), System Innovation for Sustainability. Perspectives on Radical Change to Sustainable Consumption and Production. Greenleaf Publishing, Sheffield, UK, 2008.

JACOBSEN N.B. Industrial symbiosis in Kalundborg Denmark: a quantitative assessment of economic and environmental aspects, in “Journal Industrial Ecolological, n. 10 (1–2), 2006, pp. 239–256.

ANDERSEN M. S., Evaluation of the cleaner technology program, environmental review no. 14. Environmental Protection Agency, 1997, Copenhagen, Denmark.

ANDERSEN M.S., Governance by green taxes: implementing clean water policies in Europe 1970–1990, in “Environmental Economics Policy Study” n.1, 1992, pp.39–63.

BAGLIO L.- FICHERA A.- RUSSO G.- AMARA G. - LOMBARDO E., DEFINITION OF PRICE IN CIRCULAR RAW MATERIALS IN THE DISPOSAL OF HAZARDOUS INDUSTRIAL WASTE, in “Procedia Environmental Science, Engineering and Management “, n. 4 (1), 2017, pp. 1-58.

MATHEWS J. A.– TAN H., Progress Toward a Circular Economy in China The Drivers (and Inhibitors) of Eco-industrial Initiative, in “ Journal of Industrial Ecology”, Vol. 15, N. 3, 2011, pp. 435-457.

VAN DER VORST, R., Developing sustainable products and services, in “Journal of Cleaner Production”, n. 11 (8), 2003, pp. 883-895.

TUKKER A., Product services for a resource-efficient and circular economy: a review, in “Journal of Cleaner Production”, n. 97, 2015, pp. 76-91.

MURRAY A.– SKENE K.– HAYNES K., The Circular Economy: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of the Concept and Application in a Global Context, in “Journal of Business Ethics”, 2017, n. 140, pp. 369–380.

SKOU ANDERSEN M., An introductory note on the environmental economics of the circular economy, in “Sustainable Science”, n. 2, 2007, , pp. 133–140.

GHISELLINI P. - CIALANI C., ULGIATI S., A review on circular economy: the expected transition to a balanced interplay of environmental and economic systems, in “Journal of Cleaner Production”, n. 114, 2016, pp.11-32.

GENG, Y. - CÔTE, R., Scavengers and decomposers in an eco-industrial park., in “International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology”, n. 9 (4), 2002, pp.333–340.

GERTLER, N., Industrial ecosystems: Developing sustainable industrial structures. Master’s thesis, MIT, 1995, Boston. handle/1721.1/11556/33822653.

LIEDER M.- RASHID A., Towards circular economy implementation: a comprehensive review in context of manufacturing industry, in “Journal of Cleaner Production”, n. 115, 2016, pp. 36-51.

ELLEN MACARTHUR FOUNDATION, Economic and business rationale for a circular economy, in “Towards the Circular Economy”, 2012, vol. 1.

ELLEN MACARTHUR FOUNDATION, Opportunities for the consumer goods sector, in “Towards the Circular Economy”, 2013, vol. 2.

ELLEN MACARTHUR FOUNDATION, Accelerating the scale-up across global supply chains, in “Towards the Circular Economy”, 2014, vol. 3.

GREGSON N. - CRANG M.- FULLER S.- HOLMES H., Interrogating the circular economy: the moral economy of resource recovery in the EU Economy and Society, Vol. 44 N. 2, 2015, pp. 218–243.

CHERTOW, M. R., & LOMBARDI, D. R., Quantifiying economic and environmental benefits of collocated firms, in “Environmental Science and Technology”, n. 39, 2005, pp. 6535–6541.

LAYBOURN, P. & LOMBARDI, R., Industrial symbiosis in European policy: Overview of recent progress. In “Journal of Industrial Ecology”, n. 16 (1), 2012, pp.11–12.

JELINSKI L. W.- GRAEDLER T. A.- LAUDISE R. A.-MCCALL D. W.- PATEL, C. K. N., Industrial ecology: concepts and approaches, in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”, n. 89, 1992, pp. 793-797.

KNEESE, A.V.- AYRES, R. U. - D’ARGE, R. C., Economics and the environment. A materials balance approach, 1970, Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, USA.

LANCASTER, M., Principles of sustainable and green chemistry, in CLARK J. - MACQUARRIE D. (EDS.), Handbook of green chemistry and technology, 2002, Oxford: Blackwell, UK, pp. 10–27.

GREYSON J., An economic instrument for zero waste, economic growth and sustainability, in “Journal of Cleaner Production”, n. 15, 2007, pp. 1382–1390.

BOULDING, K. E., The economics of coming spaceship earth, In H. Jarret (Ed.), Environmental quality in a growing economy, 1966, Baltimore, MD, John Hopkins University Press.

LIU, Q.- LI, H.-M.- ZUO, X.-L.- ZHANG, F.- WANG, L., A survey and analysis on public awareness and performance for promoting circular economy in China: A case study from Tianjin, in “Journal of Cleaner Production”, n.17, 2009, pp. 265–270.

YUAN Z.- MORIGUICHI, Y., The circular economy: a new development strategy in China, in “Journal of Industrial Ecology”, n. 10, 2006, pp. 4–8.

ZHOU K.- BONET FERNANDEZ D.- WAN C.- DENIS A.- JUILLARD G.-M., A study on circular economy implementation in China, Working Papers, n. 312, 2014, Paris: IPAG Business School p. 13.

RØPKE I., Trends in the development of ecological economics from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, in “Ecological Economics”, n. 48, 2005, pp. 262–290.

CHERTOW, M. R., Industrial symbiosis: Literature and taxonomy, in “Annual Review of Energy and the Environment”, n.25, 2000, pp. 313–337.

FISCHER-KOWALSKI, M.- HABERL, H., Sustainable development: Socio-economic metabolism and colonization of nature, in “International Social Science Journal”, n.50, 1998, pp. 573–587.

PEARCE D. W. -TURNER R. K., Economics of natural resources and the environment, 1990, Hemel Hempstead, Herts: Harvester Wheatsheaf.

STAHEL W. R. - REDAY-MULVEY G., Jobs for tomorrow: The potential for substituting manpower for energy. Brussels, 1976, European Commission: DG Manpower.

JARRET H. (Ed.), Environmental quality in a growing economy, 1966, Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press.

SIMMONDS, P. L., Undeveloped substances: or, hints for enterprise in neglected fields. 1862, London: Robert Hardwicke.

NAKAJIMA, N. A vision of industrial ecology: State-of-the-art practices for a circular and service-based economy. In “Bulletin of Science Technology Society”, n. 20, 2000, pp. 154–169.

PARKINS, E., The geography of American geographers, in “The Journal of Geography”, n. 33(9), 1930, pp. 229-234.

ERKMAN S., Industrial ecology: an historical view, in “Journal of Cleaner Production”, n. 5, 1997, pp. 1-10.

HECK P. Material flow analysis and material flow management. Consulting Report for the World Bank Project on Policies for Promotion of a Circular Economy in China, 2006, The World Bank, Beijing, pp 20–21.

REN YONG J, The circular economy in China, in “Mater Cycles Waste Manag”, n. 9, 2007, pp.121–129.

YUAN Z. W. - SHI L., Improving enterprise competitive advantage with industrial symbiosis: Case study of a smeltery in China, in “Journal of Cleaner Production”, n. 17, 2009, pp.1295–1302.

CHERTOW M. R. - LOMBARDI, D. R. (). Quantifying economic and environmental benefits of collocated firms, in “Environmental Science and Technology”, n. 39, 2005, pp.6535–6541.

ZHANG B.- BI J. -FAN Z. Y.- YUAN, Z. W., - GE, J. J., Ecoefficiency analysis of industrial system in China: A data envelopment analysis approach. In “Ecological Economics”, n. 68, 2008, pp. 306–316.

ZHANG H.- HARA K.- YABAR H- YAMAGUCHI Y.- UWASU, M., - MORIOKA T., Comparative analysis of socio-economic and environmental performances for Chinese EIPs: Case studies in Baotou, Suzhou, and Shanghai. In “Sustainability Science”, n. 4, 2009, pp. 263– 279.

ZHANG L.-YUAN Z.- BI, J.- ZHANG, B., - LIU, B., Ecoindustrial parks: National pilot practices in China, in “Journal of Cleaner Production”, n. 18, 2010, pp. 504–509.

CROPPER M. L. - OATES W. E. (). Environmental Economics: A survey, in “Journal of Economic Literature”, n. 30, 1992, pp.675–740.

DORFMAN R., Some concepts from welfare economics in DORFMAN R.- DORFMAN N. S. (Eds.), Economics of the environment: Selected readings, 1993, New York, NY: W.W. Norton, pp. 79–96.

MURRAY J. W., The oceans. In BUTCHER S. S. - CHARLSON R. J. - ORIANS R. J. - WOLFE G. V. (Eds.), Global biogeochemical cycles, 1992, San Diego, CA: Academic Press, pp. 176–211.

DALY H. E., - FARLEY J., Ecological economics: Principles and applications. 2004, Washington, DC: Island Press.

JACOBS M., What is socio-ecological economics?, in “ Ecological Economics Bulletin”, n. 1, 1996, pp.14–16.

CAMERON J. I., Applying socio-ecological economics: A case study of contingent valuation and integrated catchment management, in “Ecological Economics”, n. 23, 1997, pp. 155–165.

CHERTOW M.- EHRENFELD J., Toward a Theory of Industrial Symbiosis, in Journal of Industrial Ecology”, n. 16 (1), 2012, pp. 13-27.

AYRES R.U.- SIMONIS, U.E., Industrial Metabolism: Restructuring for Sustainable Development. 1994, The United Nations University.

MURPHY J.- GOULDSON, A., Environmental policy and industrial innovation: integrating environment and economy through ecological modernization, in “Geoforum”, n. 31 (1), 2000, pp. 33-44.

BOCKEN N. M. P.- DE PAUW I.- BAKKER C - BRAM VAN DER C., Product design and business model strategies for a circular economy, in “Journal of Industrial and Production Engineering”, Vol. 33 No. 5, 2016, pp. 308–320.

UNEP., Circular Economy: An alternative for economic development, 2006, Paris: UNEP DTIE.

FENG Z.- YAN, N., Putting a circular economy into practice in China, in “Sustainable Sciences”, n. 2, 2007, pp. 95-101.

HU J.- XAIO Z.- DENG, W.- WANG M.- MA, S., Ecological utilization of leather tannery waste with circular economy model, in “Journal of Cleaner Production”, n. 19, 2011, pp. 221–228.

SHI, H., CHERTOW, M. & SONG, Y., Developing country experience with ecoindustrial parks: A case study of the Tianjin economic technological development area in China. Journal of Cleaner Production, n. 18(3), 2010, pp. 191–199.

CAGNO E.- TRUCCO P.- TARDINI L., Cleaner production and profitability: analysis of 134 industrial pollution prevention (P2) project reports, in ““Journal of Cleaner Production”, n. 13, 2005, pp. 593-605.

ZHU D., Background, pattern and policy of China for developing circular economy. In “Chinese Journal Population Resource and Environmental”, n. 6 (4), 2008, pp. 3-8.

LAZAREVIC D.- AOUSTIN E.- BUCLET N.- BRANDT, N., Plastic waste management in the context of a European recycling society: comparing results and uncertainties in a life cycle perspective, in “Resources Conservation and Recycling”, n. 55, 2012, pp. 246-259.

BIRAT J. P., Life cycle assessment, resource efficiency and recycling, in “Metallic Resources Technologies “, N. 112 (206), 2015, pp.1-24.

GWEHENBERGER G.- ERLER, B.- SCHNITZER H., A Multi e Strategy Approach to Zero Emissions. Article Presented at Technology Foresight Summit, 2003, Budapest 27-29 March 2003.

STAHEL W.R., Policy for material efficiency e sustainable taxation as a departure from a throwaway society, in “Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society”, n. 371,2013, pp. 201- 207.

STAHEL W.R., Reuse Is the Key to the Circular Economy, 2014.

SOUZA G.C., Closed loop Supply chains: a critical review, and future research in “Decision Sciences”, n. 44 (1), 2013, pp.7-38.

N. GREGSON- M. CRANG- S. FULLER H., Holmes Interrogating the circular economy: the moral economy of resource recovery, in “EU Economy and Society”, Vol. 44, N. May 2015, pp. 218–243.

EHRENFELD J. R., Eco-efficiency: Philosophy, theory and tools, in “Journal of Industrial Ecology”, n. 9(4), 2005, pp. 6–8.

HUPPES G. - ISHIKAWA M.., A framework for quantified eco-efficiency analysis, in “Journal of Industrial Ecology”, n. 9 (4), 2005, pp. 25–41.

KEELING R. F.- NAJJAR, R. P.- BENDER, M. L.- TANS, P. P., What atmospheric oxygen measurements can tell us about the global carbon cycle, in “Global Biogeochemical Cycles”, n. 7, 1993pp. 37–67.

KORHONEN, J. - SN¨AKIN J. P., Analysing the evolution of industrial ecosystems: Concepts and application, In “Ecological Economics”, n. 52, 2005, pp. 169- 186.

PARK J.- SARKIS J.- WU Z.H., Creating integrated business and environmental value within the context of China’s circular economy and ecological modernization, in “Journal of Cleaner Production”, n. 18, 2010, pp.1494-1501.

GENG Y.- FU J. SARKIS J. XUE B., Towards a national circular economy indicator system in China: an evaluation and critical analysis, in “Journal of Cleaner Production”, n. 23, 2012, pp. 216-224.

SU B.–HESHMATI A.– GENG Y.- YU X., A review of the circular economy in China: moving from rhetoric to implementation, in “Journal of Cleaner Production”, n. 42, 2013, pp. 215-227.

SELMAN P., A sideways look at Local Agenda 21, in “Journal of Environmental Policy Plan”, n. 2(1), 2000, pp. 39–53.

HEERES R.R.- VERMEULEN W.J.- DE WALLE F.B., Eco-industrial park initiatives in the USA and the Netherlands: first lessons, in “Journal of Cleaner Production”, n. 12(8), 2004, pp. 985–95.

LOWE E., Eco-industrial park handbook for asian developing countries, 2001, Oackland, CA: Indigo Development.

SIMPSON D. Institutional pressure and waste reduction: the role of investments in waste reduction resources, in “International Journal of Production Economics”, n. 139 (1), 2012, pp. 330–9.

ASHTON W. Understanding the organization of industrial ecosystems, in “Journal of Industrial Ecology “, n. 12(1), 2008, pp. 34–51.

CHERTOW M.R.- ASHTON W.S.- ESPINOSA J.C., Industrial symbiosis in Puerto Rico: environmentally related agglomeration economies. In Regional Studies, 42(10), 2008, pp. 1299–312.

ZHANG Y.- ZHENG H.- YANG Z.- LIU G.- SU M., Analysis of the industrial metabolic processes for sulfur in the Lubei (Shandong Province, China) eco-industrial park, in “Journal of Cleaner Production “, n.96, 2015, pp. 126–38.

WEN Z.- MENG X., Quantitative assessment of industrial symbiosis for the promotion of circular economy: a case study of the printed circuit boards industry in China’s Suzhou New District, in “Journal of Cleaner Production”, n. 90, 2015, pp. 211–219.

DESPEISSE M.- KISHITA Y.- NAKANO M.- BARWOOD M., Towards a Circular Economy for End-of-Life Vehicles: a Comparative Study UK–Japan, in Procedia CIRP 2015, n. 29, pp. 668–73.

WINANS K.- KENDALL A.- DENG H., The history and current applications of the circular economy concept, in “Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews “, n. 68, 2017, pp. 825–833.

RØPKE, I., The early history of modern ecological economics, in “Ecological Economics”, n. 50, 2004, pp. 293–314.

WCED, Our common future. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987.

MIRATA, M. & EMTAIRAH, T., Industrial symbiosis networks and the contribution of environmental innovation: The case of the Landskrona industrial symbiosis programme, in “Journal of Cleaner Production”, n. 13, 2005, pp. 993–1002.

BRENNAN G.- TENNANT M.- BLOMSMA, F... Business and production solutions: closing the loop in. In: Kopnina, H.- Shoreman-Ouimet E. (Eds.), 2015, Sustainability: Key Issues. EarthScan. Routledge, pp. 219-239.

GEISSDOERFER M. - SAVAGET P.- BOCKEN N. M.P. – HULTINK J. E., The Circular Economy e A new sustainability paradigm?, in “Journal of Cleaner Production”, n. 143 , 2017, pp.757-768.

How to Cite
matarazzo, agata. (2018). The modern pillars of Circular Economy. Archives of Business Research, 6(8).

Most read articles by the same author(s)